The Things They Carried Symbolism Essay

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The Things They Carried The novel The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien tells the story of soldiers during the time of the Vietnam War. Each of the characters in the story bear tangible things that have a deeper symbolic meaning to each of the individuals. The most prominent of all of the soldiers tales was that of Kiowa: he carried both his grandfather 's hatchet and a bible, each of these objects held a special significance. Kiowa has given these objects symbolic meaning from within his own memories. The hatchet his grandfather has, has a strong symbolism of family, loyalty and culture, “Kiowa also carried his grandmother’s distrust of the white man, his grandfather 's old hunting hatchet.” Through the hatchet, speaks the memories of his ancestors and thus, to Kiowa, keeps them alive within him. The representation of the hatchet to Kiowa demonstrates that he places high importance on his ancestry and honor. “Necessity dictated.” this phrase following the previous quote discuses that there is a literal need for him to carry the hatchet with him in the course of the stresses of war. Being as it was his family’s, the hatchet has a home bound feel to it despite the…show more content…
To many people the bible is a document of sacredness and importance; it also holds that same significance to the character Kiowa. “Kiowa, a devout Baptist, carried an illustrated New Testament”. Kiowa is a Christian and by carrying the scriptures it suggests that his beliefs run deeper than attending Sunday sermons. Carrying a bible would give someone of that culture comfort in their religion and in their God. “He opened his New Testament and arranged it beneath his head as a pillow.” The bible is considered the word of God to most Christian faiths, being Christian, Kiowa is in a way laying his head down taking comfort in God. Kiowa carries his religion with him in the war and takes comfort in it. The Carrying of the bible shows how dedicated he is to his church by carrying an emblem of
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