The Themes In The Things They Carried By Tim O Brien

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The physical damage and emotional depreciation that the characters go through in the book, The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien, support the themes of the story by showing the traumatic effects the soldiers endure as a result of the war. December 1, 1969, changed lives of many people because it was the date that renewed mandatory service. The US draft for Vietnam brought many young boys into new surroundings and sent them crawling with an invisible enemy. Their normal lives were forever changed. No longer surrounded by familiar faces, their new homes were now foxholes, forcing them to stay alert at all times. Along with the shift in surroundings comes a shift in the mental stability of the soldiers. A good example of the effects is …show more content…

When any of the soldiers would get hurt they would always rely on Kiley to help them feel better but also distract them from the pain with goofy comments. Nowadays, Kiley can’t even recognize that the people he helps patch up are his friends, all he would do is “stare at guys who were still okay, the alive guys, and he’d start to picture how they’d look dead”(222). None of the soldiers started out this way. Such as Tim O’Brien at first was disgusted by how the men in his troop treated the dead,“ Dave Jensen went over and shook the old man’s hand. ‘How-dee-doo’ he said. And one by one, the others did it too.”(O’Brien 226). But after each death, they all became numb to the feelings that came along with the passing of a brother or a Vietnamese citizen that was killed by their presence and the only way they could cope was by the humor that they had even if it seems twisted. But even then after all that time, O’Brien never lost all of himself to the war because he would always feel guilty that someone else perished at his hands, “ Later, I remember, Kiowa tried to tell me that the man would’ve died anyway. He told me that it was a good kill..”(133). Unlike O’Brien who still has a bit of his humanity left, there is an example of

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