The Things They Carried: An Analysis

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“That’s what stories are for. Stories are for joining the past to the future ... Stories are for eternity, when memory is erased, when there is nothing to remember except the story” (36). The Things They Carried is a captivating novel that gives an inside look at the life of a soldier in the Vietnam War through the personal stories of the author, Tim O’Brien . Having been in the middle of war, O’Brien has personal experiences to back up his opinion about the war. In The Things They Carried, O’Brien reveals his view on war through telling his readers how the Vietnam War had no point, was emotionally devastating, and displaying that there is no purpose in war unless the soldiers know what they are fighting for. O’Brien shows the pointlessness of war by…show more content…
Knowledge of course, is always imperfect, but it seemed to me that when a nation goes to war it must have reasonable confidence in the justice and imperative of its cause. You can 't fix your mistakes. Once people are dead, you can 't make them undead” (38-39). Because O’Brien had witnessed so much death and destruction he knew how important it was to have all the facts first. He fought a war in Vietnam that he knew nothing about, all he knew was that, “Certain blood was being shed for uncertain reasons” (38). He realized that he put his life on the line for a war that is surrounded in controversy and questions. Through reading The Things They Carried, it was easy to feel connected to the characters; to feel their sorrow, confusion, and pain. O’Briens ability to make his readers feel as though they are actually there in the war zones with him is a unique ability that not every author possess. War was so much more than just war to O’Brien and he able to share this through his writing. "But this is true: stories can save us. ... in a story, which is a kind of dreaming, the dead sometimes smile and sit up and return to the world." (page
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