The Soldier In Tim O Brien's The Things They Carried

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Through centuries of great wars and battles, history has displayed brave men and women who have fought for their countries. These audacious people have helped propel countries for the greater good. However, the weight and responsibility, of the war, takes a heavy toll on soldiers that is often overlooked. Tim O’Brien, author of the novel The Things They Carried, records his stories, and the stories of his fellow soldiers during the war. However, three of these soldiers are affected in an outlandish way. The lives of soldiers, Norman Bowker and Curt Lemon, illustrate how the war pressures the human spirit to a standard it can’t resemble. The pressure and responsibilities of lost friends and lost acts of courage heavily weigh Norman Bowker down, …show more content…

After the death of Curt Lemon, Tim O’Brien explains how Lemon’s tough persona didn’t phase him. O’Brien states, “I knew him only slightly, and what I did know was not impressive. He had a tendency to play the tough soldier role, always posturing, always puffing himself up, and on occasion he took it way too far” (O’Brien 82). Because the war is so demanding, Curt strives to live up to its demands with the utmost courage. However, he takes his responsibility too aggressively and makes all around changes to who he really is. This new, virile persona is too good to be true and that’s what O’Brien is touching on. Lemon’s ancillary attitude comes off as fake because he’s trying to be something he’s not, which is perfect. The quest to perfection is a height that cannot be lived up to. However Curt does not realise that, so he changes himself to live up to an unachievable standard. During a trip to the dentist, Curt’s character is brought to attention again. Although able to face the toughest war commands, Curt Lemon cannot face the dentist. When visiting with the dentist, Curt passes out and embarrasses himself. Afterwards, O’Brien observes, “He seemed a little dazed. Now and then we could hear him cussing, bawling himself out. Anyone else would have laughed it off, But for Curt Lemon it was too much” (O’Brien 84). Curt’s fears about the dentist drive him to a breaking point that shames …show more content…

The war forces people into situations where the pressure is too much and the environment forces a change on how one views himself. Curt Lemon and Norman Bowker held themselves to standards that they couldn’t reach. They let the war determine how they live and who they would become. The war causes the human spirit to change so vastly that it leads to a demise, so quick and drastic, that it is hard to

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