Summary Of The Things They Carried By Tim O Brien

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In “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brian, the author discusses distinct items the soldiers carry with them during the Vietnam war. He explores weapons and equipment, but also talks about emotions and feelings the men frequently are approached by. The title of the novel is used to highlight the heavy emotional burden the soldiers had to carry during and after the war. In many cases, a soldier felt responsible for the death of one of his closest comrades. For example, “he wanted to tell the lieutenant how in the middle of the night he had pulled out Billie's picture and passed it over to Kiowa and then switched on the flashlight. . . and how right then the field had exploded all around them” shows how Henry Bowker felt that he was the …show more content…

“But Ted Lavender, who was scared, carried 34 rounds when he was shot and killed outside Than Khe, and he went down under an exceptional burden, more than 20 pounds of ammunition. . . and tranquilizers and all the rest, plus the unweighed fear” highlights the necessities men could’ve used to ease their fear of dying (12-13). Lavender carried tranquillizers to help calm himself, and extra ammunition to comfort him when he got too scared at times. Although Lavender is just one man, each soldier carried different items to help them cope with the fear. That fear drove men not only fight because it was their duty, but to also keep themselves alive. Men carried extra items to calm themselves because they didn’t want to show that they were scared. “They carried their reputations. Men killed, and died, because they were embarrassed not to. It was what had brought them to the war in the first place. . . They died so as not to die of embarrassment” depicts how men carried the fear of being a coward (24). Like O’Brian himself, the men did not try to escape the war because they would have the nation, especially their loved ones, looking down upon them. They were trained to be strong and to set an example of what it means to be “strong”. All men had a fear of dying, but had a greater fear of dying as a coward than as a

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