Historism In The Things They Carried

1422 Words6 Pages

“The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien falls into the new historism category based on the different forms of discourse. For example, O’Brien often writes about the various soldiers of Alpha company and the various things they carried them in addition to why they carried them. This provides a helpful insight because we are able to see the differences of this squad of men, whether it is their height, build or religious preferences, the things they carry are all a piece of that individuals character. Although this story was produced in 1990 it calls on the experiences of the author and the validity of his experiences. After graduating summa cum laude from Malacester College in 1968, O’Brien was drafted into the United States Army where he served …show more content…

As we have seen early on in the story, the men would often become fatigued. Knowing they had a resupply helicopter approaching later in the evening, the men would often discard their equipment as they were marching. O’Brien writes, “They carried their own lives. The pressures were enourmous. In the heat of early afternoon, they would remove their helmets and flak jackets, walking bare, which was dangerous but which helped them ease the strain. They would often discard things along the route of the march. Purely for comfort, they would throw away rations, blow up their claymores and grenades, no matter, because by nightfall the resupply choppers would arrive with more of the same, then a day or two later still more.” (O’Brien, pp 319) This is a crucial example of a sacrifice a leader would allow his fellow soldiers to make at the time to boost morale. They knew these supplies would not fail to arrive by night fall, so they lightened the physical burden to ease the mood. This gear, and their morale is crucial to mission success, so even though they were tired why was Lieutenant Cross allowing them do dispose of their gear, what if they were caught off gaurd and really needed the grenades and claymores that they blew up just to make their load lighter? This is the realization that Lieutenent Cross is coming to when he means that he will perform his duties firmly …show more content…

This conclusion has been reached in part due to fictional experiences that are portrayed in the short story and how they align with factual events of that war. We are still seeing the negative effects that combat veterans are experiencing from their time in Vietnam. It is with these experiences, that Tim O’Brien was able to successfully generate a ficitonal story based on his knowledge and experience. Although the story is fictional, it does cover realistic issues that we still suffer to this day. This short story brings to light the sacrifices that were made by the American youth in the Vietnam war, and it brings to light the knowledge of post traumatic stress. This was previously called shell shock, and believed to dissipate with time. It wasn’t until recent years that facilities such as the Veterans Affairs began to recognize the issue of mental health as a result of combat. Therefore, this short story contributes to the confounding achievements in medicine and warfare that has developed from the war driven

Open Document