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. “They carried shameful memories” (O’Brien 439). The symbolism used in this short story is the items the soldiers carry on their back. The items the soldiers carry is the psychological weight of war. “They shared the weight of memory” (436). Soldiers in Vietnam had not a clue why they were there. They miss their family and friends and their
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In Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried, O’Brien explains the weight of items as well as the psychological weight the men carried during the war. A few of the men had women back home that they held onto so that they had some kind of strive to make it back home alive. He examines how war changes the men psychologically by what is seen and done during war. O’Brien describes his experiences of death and fear that him and his friends faced during the Vietnam war.
Death Is a Powerful Motivator In “The Things They Carried”, Tim O’Brien, the author, portrays his own experience in the Vietnam War. Although O’Brien fabricated some of the stories and exaggerated some of the parts, the main idea O’Brien wished to display is present. He wanted to allow the reader a view of the war along with the physical burdens and emotional burdens the soldiers carried with them. These burdens effected the soldiers and helped define them as people.
War and the experiences encountered within it create countless stories, both heroic and horrific. A few of these war stories are shared throughout the book, The Things they Carried, by Tim O’Brien. The men involved in these war stories respond to the uncertainty, fear, and death that surrounds them in their own distinct ways. During a time of war, the soldiers in combat respond to their stimulative surroundings through their own coping mechanisms.
In Tim O’Brian’s book, The Things They Carried, he tells the story of Tim who serves in the Vietnam war and is immersed in a war filled with death. O’Brian through his theme of death helps create a story that illustrates the horrors of war, and shows how soldiers carried death both physically and psychologically. For instance, O’Brian conveys how closely war and death are associated together. On page 77, O’Brian writes, “At its core, perhaps, war is just another name for death, and yet any soldier will tell you, if he tells the truth, that proximity to death brings with it corresponding proximity to life” (77). This quote illustrates, how by coming close to dying, one can appreciate life that much more.
The Things They Carried” is a great short story by Tim O’Brien who displays the remarkable story of soldiers during the Vietnam War. Being away from your family, in an unknown place, giving up your life’s luxuries is difficult to handle mentally and physically. Similarly, in the short story we see how soldiers try to overcome their fear by escaping from the reality of the war time situation around them, to a world that is just an illusion. Throughout the short story we see several men coping through their fear in Vietnam as they had the responsibility of a solider and carried burdens of need and emotions. In order to cope with their fear, the soldiers talked with each other and told each other what they felt since the only thing that they had was time and pain.
The weight of the soldiers' items also serves as a reminder of the soldiers who were lost in battle. O'Brien writes, "They shared the weight of memory" (O'Brien, 14). The weight of the soldiers' items is not only a physical burden, but also a mental one. Each item carries memories of those who were
Soldiers who fought in wars throughout the years are viewed as heroes in their countries eyes. Nobody actually knows what the soldiers have to go through mentally and physically. Nobody knows about the traumatic experiences and different emotions these young and women had to go through. In Tim O 'Brien 's Book “ The Things They Carried”, he shares multiple stories about different characters experiences. Tim O’Brien showed how the war can affect different characters from changing their personality or having guilt for the rest of their lives.
The heaviest of the weightless load was fears that they would not speak of, or perhaps could not speak of, lest it come alive and eat up their sanity. Instead, they shallowly laughed off the threat of death in this war, all the while alienating each other, thinking that this isolation wouldn’t allow their fellow soldiers to see how afraid they were of the dark shadow of death. It’s easy to feel the weight bearing down on the soldiers shoulder’s as O’Brien goes over the detailed list of items strapped to these men’s backs. Perhaps the most haunting of his words being “They all carry the emotional baggage of men who might die.” Nonetheless, they marched on.
The short story “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien is a snapshot of the daily life of a US soldier’s during the Vietnam War. O’Brien introduces us to a group of men and gives us a small glimpse into the hardships during the conflict. The title gives us an idea of the story content, the things the soldiers carry are not just the items in their rucksack, but also the weight of their fear, guilt, and desperation. Mr. O’Brien uses many literary devices in hi story including symbolism. One example of O’Brien’s use of symbolism in “The Things They Carried” is his description of the pebble sent to First Lieutenant Jimmy Cross by a girl back home.
Despite being unable to list the actual weight of each soldier’s “emotional baggage”, the author conveys how these “intangibles had their own mass and specific gravity, they had tangible weight” (O’Brien 574-575). The reader begins to understand how a soldier living in a war zone struggles with the uncertainty of whether they’ll be alive much longer: “They carried their own lives. The pressures were enormous” (O’Brien 572). This use of symbolism leaves the reader with a much broader understanding of the psychological impact war has on a
In November of 1955, the United States entered arguably one of the most horrific and violent wars in history. The Vietnam War is documented as having claimed about 58,000 American lives and more than 3 million Vietnamese lives. Soldiers and innocent civilians alike were brutally slain and tortured. The atrocities of such a war are near incomprehensible to those who didn’t experience it firsthand. For this reason, Tim O’Brien, Vietnam War veteran, tries to bring to light the true horrors of war in his fiction novel The Things They Carried.
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.
The True Weight of War “The Things They Carried,” by Tim O’Brien, brings to light the psychological impact of what soldiers go through during times of war. We learn that the effects of traumatic events weigh heavier on the minds of men than all of the provisions and equipment they shouldered. Wartime truly tests the human body and and mind, to the point where some men return home completely destroyed. Some soldiers have been driven to the point of mentally altering reality in order to survive day to day. An indefinite number of men became numb to the deaths of their comrades, and yet secretly desired to die and bring a conclusion to their misery.
Throughout life we experience hardships, and we use these past experiences to help us make future decisions that overall grow as human beings. In Tim O ‘ Brien’s novel “The Things They Carried,” the characters not only carry physical baggage but emotional ones as well. They are forced to feel the effects of war such as guilt, burdens, and other factors that come with being a soldier. Soldiers going into the war often went in with immense pride that they were serving their country however in doing this they didn’t know they would lose their innocence and see the world in a new perspective when they returned. “My hometown was a conservative little spot on the prairie, a place where tradition counted” (O’Brien 38) shows where O’Brien lived in a place where things like the draft were taken very seriously.
The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien is a collection of short stories about the Vietnam war. The title's significance refers to both the emotional and physical baggage that the characters in the stories carry. Although the soldiers carry heavy physical baggage, they also carry the heavy emotional loads of the war, such as shame, guilt and escapism. In the first chapter, the author catalogs physical items like weapons, water, and medical gear.