Readers, especially those reading historical fiction, always crave to find believable stories and realistic characters. Tim O’Brien gives them this in “The Things They Carried.” Like war, people and their stories are often complex. This novel is a collection stories that include these complex characters and their in depth stories, both of which are essential when telling stories of the Vietnam War. Using techniques common to postmodern writers, literary techniques, and a collection of emotional truths, O’Brien helps readers understand a wide perspective from the war, which ultimately makes the fictional stories he tells more believable. O’Brien presents a variety of stories to present the complexity of war. “On The Rainy River” is a pre-war …show more content…
In the short story, “The Man I Killed,” O’Brien focuses on this to show that everyone fighting in a war has a story. He spends the story describing the man he killed and searching for justification of his actions. He carries around guilt with him because of it, and his fellow soldiers try to help him justify and come to terms with his action by saying things like, “You want to trade places with him? Turn it all upside down= you want that? I mean, be honest,” (126) and “Tim, it’s a war. The guy wasn’t Heidi- he has a weapon, right?” (126) However, by giving insight on the man’s life, the reader learns that similarly to O’Brien, the man he killed originally had no intention of fighting. He wanted to be a scholar. The collections of short stories in “The Things They Carried” come together to show how complex war can be. It is not black and white, especially since soldiers are dealing with heavy issues and people are dying all around …show more content…
Kiowa’s death was touched upon in several stories, but the insight given to the reader of First Lieutenant Jimmy Cross’s perspective in “In the Field,” is a primary example of this. Jimmy Cross has to write a letter to Kiowa’s father concerning Kiowa’s death and he has to consider the manner in which he will write the letter. He starts off by “just saying what a fine soldier Kiowa had been, what a fine human being, and how he was the kind of son that any father could be proud of forever.” (164) Then he decides: “In the letter to Kiowa’s father he would apologize point-blank. Just admit to the blunders. He would place the blame where it belonged. Tactically, he’d say, it was indefensible ground from the start. Low and flat. No natural cover. And so late in the night, when they took mortar fire from across the river, all they could do was snake down the slop and lie there and wait. The field just exploded. Rain and slip and shrapnel, it all mixed together, and the field seemed to boil. He would explain this to Kiowa’s father. Carefully, not covering up his own guilt… My own fault, he would say.” (169) Though it is never known exactly how Jimmy decided to write the letter, but one of the final ways he considered writing the letter was by making it impersonal, “ An officer
In Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, the author retells the chilling, and oftentimes gruesome, experiences of the Vietnam war. He utilizes many anecdotes and other rhetorical devices in his stories to paint the image of what war is really like to people who have never experienced it. In the short stories “Spin,” “The Man I Killed,” and “ ,” O’Brien gives reader the perfect understanding of the Vietnam by placing them directly into the war itself. In “Spin,” O’Brien expresses the general theme of war being boring and unpredictable, as well as the soldiers being young and unpredictable.
He witnesses one of his closest friends, Kiowa, become fatally wounded and precede to sink into the never-returning mud that prompts room for creativity. Norman feels as if, by some intuitive way, prying him out of the mud would bring him back. Although to the readers, it was clear he was already gone. Tim O’Brien describes Norman’s hometown in depth as he had lived there also. His use of vivid imagery and sensory details make the readers feel as if Norman is narrating from a third person perspective, a realistic scene that has some imagination added to it.
As O’Brien tells what he would consider to be a ture war story of two young Vietnam soldiers he writes, “ They were kids; they just didn’t know. A nature hike, they thought, not even a war … they were giggling and calling each other yellow mother and playing a silly game they invented” (O’Brien 270). With O’briens words he reminices with his readers about childhood. The soldiers he writes about, under different circumstances, could have easily been kids in a school yard or a summer camp. True war stories show the gruesomeness of war, childrens lives lost faster than the blink of an eye.
During the War young men were taken away from fully experiencing their adolescence lives and were sent to fight in war. In the short story, “The things they carried” by Tim O’Brien, the narrator discusses his personal experience in the Vietnam War along with his fellow soldiers. He tells the story in an unusual way when he shares parts of his story from past and changes to present which allows the reader to feel the emotions and experience what each soldier went through and learn more about the characters personalities. O’ Brien uses an unusual narrative technique that allows the reader to visualize the experiences they went through such as death and guilt. Throughout the story we also learn more about the characters personalities and the importance
Emotionally the stories within the novel give truth for the reader. O’Brien uses the protagonist, Tim, to deliver the stories, showing the reader how it would feel to be a part of the war. O’Brien shows the reader that when telling a story, the
By attaching stories to deaths, and names to the faces of soldiers who otherwise would be just another killed in action, the real experiences of what it was to be a soldier in Vietnam come to life in ways cold hard facts and reality cannot. O’Brien’s book is not about war. It’s about the people who lived through the terror of being in Vietnam. As O’Brien writes “It’s about love and memory. It's about sorrow”(81).
The book tells the story of soldiers fighting in the Vietnam War. The short stories are inspired by O’Briens personal experience while fighting in the war. O’Brien conveys his experiences during his time fighting into each short story. This book evidently exhibits an anti-war tone. “In this essay, author Tim O'Brien writes about his war experiences and how they affected his life.
Poetic Elements in “The Things They Carried” In the short story “The Things They Carried “ O Brien explores many poetic elements in the story. The author’s purpose of this story is to tell us about the effects and impact that the Vietnam War has left. War is truly horrific and should not be taken lightly. Going to war can be very devastating.
“The Things They carried” is O’Brien’s third book and was published in 1990, twenty years after O’Brien coming back from war. The main subject of the book is the Vietnam War, and it consists of twenty-two interconnected short stories. There is no clear distinction between the reality and fiction in the book. O’Brien uses his own name for the main character of the book. In some stories, he writes about his true memories of the war, and in some parts he writes complete fiction.
In “The Man I Killed,” Tim O’Brien portrays a vivid story on how war affects individuals. Tim, Azar, and Kiowa are all at the Vietnam war in 1990 together fighting. Tim killed a man with a grenade and he feels deeply upset about the matter, while Azar shows no sympathy for the dead man whatsoever. Kiowa is the neutral man of the situation, trying to comfort and justify the death of the man because it was Tim’s job to protect his men. The story is told from the perspective of the protagonist, while O’Brien uses a sufficient amount of imagery throughout the reading to show the amount of guilt he has obtained from killing a man.
In this chapter, the platoon goes back to the field where Kiowa died to try to find his body. At the end, they did find his body, but throughout the chapter, multiple people felt guilty for what happened to Kiowa. O'Brien talks about how every person in that platoon felt and acted to that event. O’Brien writes more details about two specific individuals that were overwhelmed with Kiowa’s death. Lieutenant Jimmy Cross was one of the people that felt responsible for Kiowa’s death.
This quote epitomizes the trauma caused by war. O’Brien is trying to cope, mostly through writing these war stories but has yet to put it behind him. He feels guilt, grief, and responsibility, even making up possible scenarios about the life of the man he killed and the type of person he was. This
Contrary, Kiowa does not like the idea of invading the pagoda, saying, “this is all wrong” (122). Kiowa symbolizes the opposition to the war, those who think involvement with Vietnam is not a good idea. Third, the “field” Kiowa dies in represent Vietnam as well; the “field” is unpleasant and hard to get out of, like the war. Norman Bowker has a parallel of the field with a lake. Even at back at home, the lake is there reminding him of the war as if it will never leave him, showing the reader the war stays with people.
This chapter “The Ghost Soldiers”, showed us how Tim O’Brien and the other soldiers were dealing with the war both physically and psychologically. It also shows us how the Tim O'Brien behaved and felt when he was shot, wounded and had a bacteria infection on his butt and how the war changed the way he thought, and viewed the other soldiers around him. This chapter also contain a lot of psychological lens. From the way Tim O’Brien felt when he was shot and separated from his unit to a new unit to when he wanted revenge on Bobby Jorgenson for almost “killing” him.