Things They Carried By Tim O Brien: An Analysis

699 Words3 Pages

In The Things They Carried, Tim O’ Brien challenges the concept that war is glorious and heroic by using death to display the actuality of war. The book explores a collection of short stories written by Tim O’ Brien, who writes about the experiences within a platoon of American soldiers in the Vietnam War. Within his stories, the deaths experienced reveal the reality of war which is insignificant and cowardly. The reality of war O' Brien discusses, contrasts the romanticized beliefs of war some people may have.
A commonly believed aspect that characterizes war as heroic is dying a heroic death. O’ Brien contests by depicting death as abrupt or vain. For instance, Curt Lemon died by stepping on a detonator while he and Rat Kiley were playing a game of catch. During their game of …show more content…

One night, rounds of mortar fell on the camp, injuring Kiowa. Norman Bowker saw Kiowa begin to sink into the flooded-muddy field and grabbed his boot to pull him out. However, the stench got too strong for Bowker, so Bowker let Kiowa sink into the muck (). O’ Brien uses Kiowa’s death to act as the instigator of growing guilt and regret within the platoon. For instance, Lieutenant Cross blames himself for letting his men settle along the river bank. Additionally, Bowker feels responsible for letting go of Kiowa’s boot, allowing him to drown into the muck. Post-war, these emotions took an extreme toll on Bowker to the point where he had difficulty expressing his thoughts to others. Bowker lost his sense of purpose in life and had hanged himself. Furthermore, years after the war, O’ Brien returns to Vietnam to bury Kiowa’s boots in the field where he had passed. Along with burying Kiowa’s boots, O’ Brien had buried his long held guilt from the tragedy. O’ Brien uses this one death alone, to show how it fed into guilt instead of glory or

Open Document