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The Things They Carried By Tim O Brien: Literary Analysis

793 Words4 Pages

Madelyn Smith
Ms.Reid
English 11 Law
25 April, 2023

The Vietnam War was a horrifyingly gruesome and deadly altercation in which America sent hundreds of thousands of kids to fight in a grown man's war. Close to 60,000 American soldiers and 250,000 Vietnamese soldiers were killed in this fight of nonsense, in which the lives of innocent civilians and soldiers alike were taken, all while making no political progress. In the historical fiction, The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien presents stories that show how the soldiers cope with the war, in order to depict the trauma and horror they experienced, ultimately illustrating that the soldiers who went to Vietnam lived through horrid battles and show their fear of uncertainties through their …show more content…

Rat and his platoon are sitting at their camp where they see a baby water buffalo, he proceeds to abuse and torture this innocent animal. “He shot it twice in the flanks. It wasn’t to kill; it was to hurt…but for now it was a question of pain. He shot off the tail.” (O’Brien 22). This baby buffalo was brutally shot several times, it was gruesome and violent in Vietnam and they were taking their emotions out on animals. Soldiers who have been through and experienced these situations are turning to extremely violent ways of coping with their emotions. Many soldiers lost their best friends, brothers, and cousins and that's exactly what happened to Rat, he not only watched his best friend get blown up but he had to live with the constant fighting and war. “Rat kiley was crying. He tried to say something, but then he cradled his rifle and went off by himself.” (O’Brien 23) Curt was killed while playing a game with his friend. They’re still kids fighting in an adult war, because they’re still kids they’re reckless and unafraid of dying. After Rat lost his best friend so suddenly the reality of the situation sinks in, and the fact that he could die at any moment from …show more content…

Rat writes a letter to Curt’s sister explaining to her what a great guy her brother was. “Her brother made the war seem almost fun… he had the right attitude, he knew how to have a good time.” (O’Brien 18) Curt copes with the horrors of the war through moments of joy and laughter. This impacts how we talk about war and how traumatizing experiences shouldn't be treated as a game or just something to get a good laugh out of. In this same letter to Curts sister, Rat says “The guy was a little crazy for sure, but crazy in a good way, a real daredevil, because he liked the challenge of it.” (O’Brien 18). The actions Curt took can be seen as dangerous, but they can also be seen as a coping mechanism, to deal with the uncertainty and dangers of the war. Curt Lemon’s coping method of having fun and messing around shows the ways in which individuals can deal with stress and

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