Themes In Tim O Brien's The Things They Carried

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The Things They Carried Thematic Essay “Special honor or respect shown publicly,” is the definition of homage and homage is the biggest motivator in Tim O’Brien’s novel The Things They Carried. He wrote this book to pay homage to the men who died for our country during his fight in Vietnam. It is a theme that carries throughout this collection of stories. The Things They Carried is a way to see what these soldiers went through and who they were before passing away. They were O’Brien’s friends during the fight and they were all but numbers after the war, or distant memories. The themes of the novel are the importance of paying homage friends and honoring their sacrifice are prevalent throughout. One example that describes how O’Brien paid homage to his friends resides in Norman Bowker, one of O’Brien’s close friends. Norman Bowker was not as outgoing as many other men in O'Brien's platoon, but Bowker did have a good…show more content…
Kiowa was another friend, a permanent spot in his platoon, and many moments in the book including during the chapter “Ambush.” Kiowa often acted as a coach towards many new members of the platoon, even helping O’Brien when he killed a young Vietnamese soldier who was not actually attacking them. O’Brien was shaken up after the events played out, but Kiowa talked him through what would have happened if the shot was not taken. “Later I remember, Kiowa tried to tell me the man would’ve died anyway” (O’Brien 127). Kiowa tried to help O’Brien process what had happened because at the time, because O’Brien felt horrible for killing what he thought was an innocent victim. Kiowa later said that O’Brien could have saved a life and plus someone would have killed the guy anyway. Kiowa is a coach, mentor, and a friend of all of the men in the platoon. O’Brien payed homage to Kiowa by portraying a man who showed compassion and guidance to his fellow
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