Death and destruction caused by war can become permanently embedded in the minds of those who actively participated in combat long after the conflict has officially come to an end. Their memories, decisions, and personality can be influenced by what they experienced while serving in combat. The burdens that were placed upon them by horrible circumstances have the ability to become a permanent fixture, never leaving a person for as long as they exist. Tim O’Brien explores the origin of these burdens throughout one of his most famous works. Through a psychological analysis, it can be determined that O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried” connects the temporary physical burdens with the permanent emotional burdens experienced by soldiers during …show more content…
Josh Hochgesang, a student at Stanford University, discusses the topic of uncertainty in war in “The Psychological Effects of the Vietnam War” when he states that “due to a lack of a strong moral and political avocation for the war…it was difficult for the soldier to control and predict the events occurring around him” (Hochgesang). The inability to control circumstances caused many soldiers to begin questioning everything that occurred to them in combat. Steven Kaplan’s “Undying Uncertainty” addresses the notion that the uncertainty of war, specifically the Vietnam War, caused many soldiers to only focus on survival. He states that, in “The Things They Carried”, O’Brien “introduces the reader to some of the things, both imaginary and concrete, emotional and physical, that the average foot soldier had to carry through the jungles of Vietnam” (Kaplan 579). O’Brien’s incorporation of both concrete and figurative details in his work emphasize the general feeling of soldiers who served in …show more content…
The narrator describes the soldiers under Cross’s command as tough, and further states, “They carried all the emotional baggage of men who might die. Grief, terror, love, longing-these were intangibles, but the intangibles had their own mass and specific gravity, they had tangible weight” (O’Brien 574-75). The narrator recognizes that emotions and other intangible things can burden a soldier mentally just as field equipment can burden a soldier physically. Furthermore, the narrator emphasizes that, while these burdens were evident, soldiers did not allow them to hinder their ability to fight to keep each other alive, stating “despite their unknowns, they made their legs move…they did not submit to the obvious alternative, which was simply to close [their] eyes and fall” (O’Brien 575). Just as with any physical burden, these soldiers did not let emotions take the better of them, but continued to move forward, fighting for the lives of the men beside
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In Tim O’brien’s short story, “The Things They Carried,” O’brien explains more than just what people face at war. O’Brien gives detail of each burden, struggle, and memory each soldier carries into the war. He describes of a battle more destructive than a war filled with guns, bombs, and knives. He describes of a mind battle, one in which is the hardest any man can face. A mind battle controls your every decision.
In Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, the reader receives insight as to what soldiers experienced during the Vietnam War and what thoughts consumed their minds in those times of hardship and heartache. As Americans, we typically picture military men and women as emotionally and physically strong, while in reality, that may not be the case. They deal with more emotional and physical trauma than we come to understand. People who carry physical or emotional burdens tend to seek some kind of release or do something to feel relieved of their burdens. O’Brien uses stories about the men in his platoon to depict how soldiers are bound by their own emotional weights, and each have a different way of trying to release themselves from those tensions.
The Weight In the short story, “The Things They Carried”, Tim O’Brien talks about the weight soldiers carry in war. This particular war that Tim O’Brien was a part of is the Vietnam war. The soldiers in Vietnam have not only their gear to carry but they also carry the weight of the world in their hearts. Tim O’Brien uses symbolism, figurative language, and imagery to tell us of none other than pure hell.
The struggle of war is more than a physical struggle. It is the emotional and moral struggles that weigh soldiers down even after the war. In O’Brien’s chapter “On the Rainy River,” he experiences different thoughts on whether
During World War II Winston Churchill once said “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.” The soldiers in World War II suffered many psychological and physical tolls during the war and even after the war ended. When Winston sent his troops he offered their blood, sweat and tears of the men. Sometimes the memories never leave. Tim O’Brien’s book The Things They Carried shows many physical and psychological effects that soldiers went through during the Vietnam War.
The irony in Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried is crucial to understanding that the mental burden the soldiers carry are heavier than their physical burdens. Each soldier is required to carry their entire lives on their back throughout their tour in Vietnam. The soldiers carried not only weapons and the means of survival, but individual objects that are unique to them. While the individuality of the tangible objects that each soldier carried is supposed to keep them sane, it is these very objects that provides an even heavier mental burden of guilt and pain that eventually drove them to insanity.
Tim O’Brien writes about the emotions of war in his book, The Things They carried.” There are many stories about the tragedy and violent nature of the Vietnam War along with stories of comradery and a togetherness that is only felt by brothers of war. Spending months of your life in this environment is bound to have lasting effects on a person. If you experience death, fear, and un-predictableness as your normal, the only chance of survival lies in adaptability. Tim O’Brien proves through his short stories about himself, Mary Anne, Norman Bowker, and others that war changes a person.
This narrative technique is critical to conveying the central idea that the weight of emotional baggage is as heavy as physical objects. By exploring the complex emotional realities of the soldiers, O’Brien highlights the intangible and often ignored the
“Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind” (John F. Kennedy). In the novel The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien he wrote stories about what being in Vietnam war was like. O’Brien wrote the book nonlinear because that is how he remembered the stories. Tim O’Brien let readers get a first hand look on what war is like and what it can really do to someone who was in war. Tim O’Brien used the themes shame/guilt and storytelling/memory to let people who want to understand what war is like to get a better understanding and what it does to a soldier mentally and physically.
War is an ambiguous matter. From one perspective, it is seen as a glorious act of valor, benefitting the nation and bringing peace to a victorious land once drenched in blood. On the other hand, however, war is a massacre; a useless act of violence that only brings more death and destruction. While focusing on the bigger picture of war’s influence on the world is often the most popular discussion, the individual aspect of war in which soldiers’ deal with their own personal struggles is often forgotten. Through the novel, The Things They Carried, the author, Tim O’Brien, teaches his readers that war compels soldiers to become morally ambiguous.
The lasting effects of war are more than anyone could ever imagine. War is a traumatic experience for many soldiers and oftentimes they are unable to return to the way things were before. In The Things They Carried, Tim O'Brien uses sadness in people's eyes and life after war to convey the idea that it is nearly impossible to relate to the feelings during and after war if people did not experience it. The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien emphasizes the effects that war has on different soldiers. It illustrates their separate but similar struggles.
It was recorded nearly 2.6 million soldiers were sent to Vietnam to fight a gruesome war. About 58,000 of those 2.6 million soldiers perished by the time the Vietnam War was over (Vietnam War Statistics, 1997). These men had to live and die with strength, wits, impassive, and remorseless, all given by the society they were viewed in. Tim O’Brien a Vietnam War veteran born in Austin, Minnesota, was drafted into the war in 1968. He went through hell and back to write his book the Things They Carried (1990).
Tim O’Brien uses personal experiences to create a world of Vietnam many readers had not encountered before. In his novel, “The Things They Carried;” a collection of short stories depicting the lives of the soldiers serving the Vietnam War, O’Brien uses both facts and fiction to help the reader not only understand the events that transpired overseas, but he also tries to instill the emotions felt by those serving into the reader. During the Vietnam War, soldiers as young as 18 were drafted to serve in the American military and this greatly affected the opinions toward the war and the soldiers who served. Young men who attempted to avoid the draft were looked down upon because some Americans viewed these actions as cowardly and unpatriotic. In “The Things They Carried” the author shares with the reader his own experiences with military conscription.
Over all, this story allows us to observe changes within the mentalities of army officers. First, the trauma of living in a war zone can add a significant amount of intangible weight into someone’s life. In “The Things They Carried,” we discover that Cross’s men “carried all the emotional baggage of men who might die (443).” Given that the majority of humans have experienced some form of trauma, we can understand how some men were driven to suicide and others into
When most people think of war, they think of all the physical damages, terror, and destruction. Even though the physical damages and deaths are scary and can cause burdens, the emotional stance and psychological effects of war are the more devastating and destructive parts of war. Throughout the novel The Things They Carried, Tim O'Brien articulates how times of war brings out the powerful effects of shame, guilt, and fear on the human mind. The intangible negative emotions that every soldier carries may not have physical weight, but is a burden that every man possesses. Shame; the feeling of embarrassment, feeling as if other people are judging the actions one takes.