The Vietnam War In The Things They Carried By Tim O Brien

747 Words3 Pages

The soldiers of the Vietnam War were mostly innocent young men that were forced to face overwhelming emotional distress like the fear of their own deaths, guilt associated with taking the life of another soldier, and sorrow after witnessing their fellow comrades’ deaths. In The Things They Carried, author, Tim O’Brien, uses fictional stories to display the immense emotional burdens that the soldier Tim and his fellow members of Alpha Company experienced before, during, and after their unforgettably haunting time in Vietnam, and how each handled this “baggage” they carried. O’Brien’s sympathy belongs to the soldiers in the novel, knowing full and well that none of them belonged in the middle of the unjust war. Whether it was by the use of …show more content…

Each soldier had to individually find ways to cope with the loss of their comrades, whom were oftentimes their best friends. For Rat Kiley, the loss of his good friend Curt Lemon to a surprise booby trap is emotionally too much for him to handle. His grief leads him to writing a heartfelt letter to Curt’s sister in an attempt to continue some form of relationship with his deceased best friend. Lieutenant Jimmy Cross, as the leader of Alpha Company, blames his own daydreaming and decision making for the deaths of Ted Lavender and Kiowa. The responsibility for Ted Lavender’s death that Jimmy Cross assumes generates a shame that he carries with him for the rest of his life “like a stone in his stomach.” A similar guiltiness is displayed by Norman Bowker, after he feels that his lack of courage resulted in the grotesque death of Kiowa. The feeling of not doing enough to save a friend haunts many war veterans. For Bowker, his inability to save Kiowa and other experiences of Vietnam left him directionless in his life after the war, ultimately leading to his suicide a few years down the road. Unlike Tim, who uses his ability to create stories that capture the complicated emotions of war to cope in his life back in America, Norman feels alone since he is unable to share his inner feelings from Vietnam that still haunt

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