In the book “The Things They Carried”, Tim O’Brien admits to killing only one man during his war career, and relays it in the chapter “The Man I Killed”. In this chapter, O’Brien surveys the mangled body of the Vietnamese man he has just murdered, and desperately attempts to humanize the dead man as a coping method for his guilt. The chapter embodies a unique, and extremely detailed repetitive writing style which serves as a symbol of O’Brien’s scrutiny over his irrevocable action.
Through his novel The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien, shares his insider’s perspective on the Vietnam War. O’Brien retells his experience and adventures as a soldier of the Vietnam War’s Alpha Company, through a collection of short stories in which all seem to be connected. In chapter one—The Things They Carried—O’Brien introduces many characters and includes the object(s) in which they carried, literally along with the figurative things they carried during their time in Vietnam. Each of the men carries heavy physical loads while they also all carry heavy emotional loads, composed of “grief, terror, love, longing […]” (O’Brien 20).
Everyone carried at least something with them such as: burdens, ghosts, cruel images, and unscrupulous experiences. (“The Things They Carried” Critical Survey of Short Fiction 1790-1793). In Tim’s novel, They Things They Carried, he carried courage, innocent, guilt, and love: those were his personal memories. Nonetheless, in the novel, it seems like every veteran carries griefs and experiences. Each person will have different griefs: to Tim, his griefs will be dead of his friends, Lavender and Kiowa. He lost his friends to the war: it causes him deep sorrow. Tim also carried experiences in Vietnam at the village of Than Khe and the poop field. Those were the places where his friends died: it brings back miserable memories. (Little, Innocence). He carried those memory back home; he felt like a coward when he cannot save his friends from dying. He wants forgiveness from the people he killed especially the man he blows up; he felt bad for everyone that died in the Vietnam
Through out the book titled The Things They Carried, many characters are brought upon us, who are portrayed differently from the beginning of the book to the end of the book. The author shows or portrays what can truly happen to humans as they go through time in war. War will change their character’s thoughts and appearance to the reader just by the way they are shown in the book. An example of a character that has changed throughout the book is Norman Bowker.
The Things They Carried, written by Tim O’Brien, illustrates the experiences of a man and his comrades throughout the war in Vietnam. Tim O’Brien actually served in the war, so he had a phenomenal background when it came to telling the true story about the war. In his novel, Tim O’Brien uses imagery to portray every necessary detail about the war and provide the reader with a true depiction of the war in Vietnam.
Tim O'Brien's “The Things They Carry,” tells a story about the lives of young men during war. The narrator tells his story from first person, marking all of his adventures and experiences of his companions. O’Brien crafts his piece through the use of repetition, symbolism, and metaphors to convey the idea of physical and psychological hardships of soldiers during war.
“That’s what stories are for. Stories are for joining the past to the future ... Stories are for eternity, when memory is erased, when there is nothing to remember except the story” (36). The Things They Carried is a captivating novel that gives an inside look at the life of a soldier in the Vietnam War through the personal stories of the author, Tim O’Brien . Having been in the middle of war, O’Brien has personal experiences to back up his opinion about the war. In The Things They Carried, O’Brien reveals his view on war through telling his readers how the Vietnam War had no point, was emotionally devastating, and displaying that there is no purpose in war unless the soldiers know what they are fighting for.
In the case of Ted Lavender, once he was pronounced dead the men stripped him of his things while waiting for the chopper to pick up his body, and sat “smoking the dead man 's dope (436).” Furthermore, when they drew numbers to determine who scouted out the tunnels, they “always felt the luck of the draw” when they escaped the duty (438). This is because they feared death, but were always embarrassed to admit it. For the soldiers, dishonor was worse than anything else they faced. “They crawled into tunnels and… advanced under fire,” and refused to give up and simply “fall to the ground” all to save their own pride (443). Their drive to live on during battle did not come from courage, but their fear to be known as cowards
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.
During the Vietnam War the soldiers, whether or not they wanted to be there, many of them developed mental illnesses. The things they would experience would cause burdens on them for the rest of their lives. “Ted Lavender, who was scared, carried tranquilizers until he was shot in the head outside the village of Than Khe in mid-April.” (The Things They Carried) Lavender carried tranquilizers until he died, because he was scared. This is one the effects war had on people. Due to cultural aspects these soldiers were burdened by drugs, the environment and social pressure to perform well, ultimately effecting their state of mind.
Death is something that occurs often in a war due to the violence and dangerous areas. Everyone takes on the thought of someone dying in different ways, whether they maintained a close relationship with the person or not guilt could become an instant reaction of the persons' death because of a feeling of maybe being responsible for the death that occurred. The thought of maybe being responsible for one of the soldiers that you have spent day night serving with could leave an enormous amount of guilt in one person. When witnessing a death or anything traumatic it is easy to blame someone else or even yourself for the tragic accident. Multiple characters in the book The Things They Carried demonstrated the guilt and responsibility of another
Imagine being drafted to move thousands of miles away from the life you love to fight a war you hated. This is the unfortunate reality for Tim O’Brien In The Things They Carried. O’Brien explains his experiences of war in Vietnam, what it took to get him there, and his relationships with the other men in his platoon. He portrays guilt and pride through storytelling and intertwines the two by showing how the men often feel guilty for the actions they pursue or decisions they make based on their pride.
When someone experiences a terrible loss in their life usually they can cope with it in a multitude of ways. Some cope with it through deep mournful trials, replace the terrible moment with a more light and peaceful moment, block it out entirely, or they relive the event that caused the loss of that close friend or loved one over and over in their head. These coping mechanisms are evidently used in the entire cast of characters in the short story The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien. In the story the characters experience the loss of a member in their unit during a patrol through the jungles of Vietnam. After they experience the loss of their comrade in arms the entire unit undergoes a process of mourning in their own distinct way. Likewise,
Robert E. Lee once said, “What a cruel thing war is… to fill our hearts with hatred instead of love for our neighbors”. The novel The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien takes place in Vietnam. He and a handful of other men experience things only one can image and hope they will never have to experience again. They learn how death among them can greatly affect them, and many others. War is not an easy task to get through and these men all had different coping methods. O’Briens intended audience is people who have an interest in war, and uses mortality and death, along with morality to help the audience get a deeper understanding of what could possibly occur at war.
America’s war heroes all have the same stories to tell but different tales. Prescribed with the same coloring page to fill in, and use their methods and colors to bring the image to life. This is the writing style and tactic used by Tim O’Brien in his novel, “The Things They Carried”. Steven Kaplan’s short story criticism, The Undying Certainty of the Narrator in Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, provides the audience with an understanding of O’Brien’s techniques used to share “true war” stories of the Vietnam War. Kaplan explains the multitude of stories shared in each of the individual characters, narration and concepts derived from their personal experiences while serving active combat duty during the Vietnam War,