The Things They Carried By Tim O Brien Literary Analysis

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Realities of war The Vietnam war was a roll over from WWII, to help stop the spread of communism. On December 1, 1969, the first Vietnam wartime draft was announced1. Between the dates of August 1964 and February 1973 1,857,304 men were inducted to the united states military2. Most men drafted to the Vietnam war were between the ages of 18 and 24. Among the large group of American men to be drafted one of them was Tim O’Brien the author of the short story “The Things They Carried” 3. Aside from the exponential amount of men sent off to war, the Vietnam war already had a bad stigma. There was little public support due to the feeling of fighting and unwinnable war and the amount of men who were dying. In his story, O’Brien portrays this sense …show more content…

Other than Jimmy Cross always daydreaming, which is a common practice of lonely people. There is lots of content that hints at loneliness. “Mitchell Sanders, the RTO, carried condoms,” (470). Why would a man in war carry a condom unless he was lonely and looking for some Vietnamese love? O’Brien says that “everyone humped photographs,” (470). When O’Brien says humped he means walk, just to clarify. The photograph phrase also suggests that the men are missing the people they love the most by carrying the most important memories of home with them. Also, Henry Dobbins who “carried his girlfriend’s pantyhose wrapped around his neck as a comforter,” (474) is highly suggestive of loneliness. He is using the pantyhose as sort of a symbol of his girlfriend physically being there with him, suggesting that he is lonely for her. “Rat Kiley carried comic books,” (470), most likely he is missing home. The comic books are probably the easiest piece of home for him to …show more content…

O’Brien conveys fear well when telling us what each of the men carried. There is an ample amount of evidence in O’Brien’s writing to bring about the feelings of fear. Ted Lavender’s character showed it the most bluntly. On more than one occasion O’Brien came right out and said Ted Lavender was scared. The second page of the story is the first account of this, “who was scared, carried tranquilizers,” (470). O’Brien said Ted is scared and then he adds that he also carried tranquilizers gives you the depth of how scared he was. O’Brien went on to add Ted Lavender also “carried six or seven ounces of premium dope, which for him was necessity.” (470). That line adds more depth to how scared Ted Lavender was. Ted Lavender is using drugs and getting high to escape the horrible reality he is in. Another instance of drug abuse is when O’Brien says “Rat Kiley carried brandy,” (474) implying that he needs an escape from reality also. Some men carried good luck charms to ward off the feeling of fear. “Lieutenant Cross carried his good-luck pebble,” “Dave Jensen carried a rabbit’s foot.” (475). Other things O’Brien put in the work to evoke fear was when he said machine gunner Henry Dobbins gun “was almost always loaded,” (471). O’Brien also states that they carried “whatever seemed appropriate as means of killing or staying alive,” (470). The men also carry a mine detector that doesn’t work that well but they

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