In the book “The Things They Carried”, Tim O’Brien writes about his experience before and during the Vietnamese War, tells stories about his troop, and their lives before and after the war. He illustrates about how his life changed because of the war, and emphasizes on how the war is so cruel and has no moral at all. His stories involve a lot about Vietnamese War. If people read his story superficially, they will say it is definitely a war story, but he argues that his book is actually about love (81). Although his story looks like a war story, it is actually a loved story because his stories are either about his loved ones or dedicated to his loved ones. The reason that O’Brien went to war is because of his love to the people around him. …show more content…
His art of storytelling makes readers reach to the Vietnam War instead of getting actual facts about the war. In the chapter “How to Tell a True War Story”, he illustrates about how Rat Kiley tortured a baby water buffalo and killed him cruelly by writing “He shot randomly, almost casually, quick little spurts in the belly and butt” (75). According to this evidence, we can see that it is just act of cruelty and gore since he is emphasizing his friend slowly killing an innocent baby buffalo. But if we look at it closely, it is a love story. O’Brien started his chapter with Rat Kiley writing a sincere letter to his deceased best friend, Curt Lemon’s sister about how he feel sorry and how he will take care of her after the war (64-65). Therefore, if we trace things back a little bit, we can clearly see that O’Brien is writing that way to express his fellow soldier’s sorrow of losing his best friend. His writing style is unique in a way that he doesn’t express the feelings just bluntly. He could just add words that emphasizes sadness, but instead, he added the act of his friend to show the underlying feeling about one during the war. Therefore, after reading about that chapter, people will say they were so cruel during the war, but if they think deeply, all chapter is about the writer’s friend grieving for his dead
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In the chapter “Ambush,” O’Brien especially digs into the psychology of a veteran. By addressing himself as a veteran, who was ambushed by his little daughter with the question, “Did you kill someone?” This might be the scariest question that any veteran could get asked. When we look at what happened in Vietnam, we know that O’Brien’s intention was not to kill, but it was just a classic soldier instinct. On the other hand, after O’Brien killed the slim young soldier, he was in complete regret.
(O’Brien 107). The quote was significant at the time that Tim O'Brian was attempting to talk to Norman Bowker about his guilt over the death of Kiowa and to stop him from believing that he needed to continue telling war stories after the war. The letter O'Brien received from Bowker vividly depicts his struggles with depression and traumatic events. This demonstrates how the author is attempting to deal with the traumatic events from his time serving in the Vietnam War. Because this was the first war that America lost and because it can be used to illustrate how people suffered, it demonstrates how difficult it is for soldiers to talk about their experiences.
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.
The metaphor of the pork product assembly line also extends to the military machine that drafts soldiers and sends them to war. In the story O 'Brien sets up paradoxical relationships that are revisited in various forms throughout the novel. One such paradox is that of courage and fear. He explains that he was "ashamed to be doing the right thing" in following his conscience and going to Canada. This metafictive means of imposing meaning on moral disorder and personal conflict is not the only storytelling O 'Brien does in this chapter.
And one by one, the others did it too. ”(O’Brien 226). But after each death, they all became numb to the feelings that came along with the passing of a brother or a Vietnamese citizen that was killed by their presence and the only way they could cope was by the humor that they had even if it seems twisted. But even then after all that time, O’Brien never lost all of himself to the war because he would always feel guilty that someone else perished at his hands, “ Later, I remember, Kiowa tried to tell me that the man would’ve died anyway. He told me that it was a good kill..”(133).
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.
Originally published in 1990, The Things They Carried is a collection of war stories that took place during the Vietnam War. Due to its accurate and honest depiction of war, it has been banned for crude language, violence, drug use, and sexual innuendo. The author, Tim O’Brien, was born in Austin, Minnesota in 1946. Due to his service in the United States military during the Vietnam War, O’Brien is able to depict the war in a more graphic, and realistic manner.
This is evident when Mr. O’Brien says, “I would go to the war – I would kill and maybe die – because I was embarrassed not to,” (pg. 57.) In the end the author realized what he must do and went back home, so he could fight in the Vietnam
His stories are not political, and he explains his intent is not to teach a lesson, “A true war story is never moral. It does not instruct, nor encourage virtue, nor suggest models of proper human behavior, nor restrain men from doing the things men have always done” (O’ Brien 65). Rather, O’Brien’s focus is centered on the characters’ lives, the relationships formed, and the how his friends and others reacted, responded and survived the war. O’Brien refrains from judgement, even when characters’ actions seem questionable. For example, when Rat Kiley, the platoon’s medic, shot himself in the foot in order to get medevaced, O’Brien depicts the situation honestly and
O’Brien tells the readers about him reflecting back twenty years ago, he wonders if running away from the war were just events that happened in another dimension, he pictures himself writing a letter to his parents: “I’m finishing up a letter to my Parents that tells what I'm about to do and why I'm doing it and how sorry I am that I’d never found the courage to talk to them about it”(O’Brien 80). Even twenty years after his running from the war, O’Brien still feels sorry for not finding the courage to tell his parents about his decision of escaping to Canada to start a new life. O’Brien presented his outlook that even if someone was not directly involved in the war, this event had impacted them indirectly, for instance, how a person’s reaction to the war can create regret for important friends and
Tim O’Brien describes how distraught Rat was after his friend was killed which led him to take his emotions out on the buffalo. O’Brien could have exaggerated this story just like others, however the emotions that Rat Kiley feels are genuine because young soldiers resort to dark actions as they
The soldiers in the Vietnams war were there for different reasons, some soldiers were forced against their will and some were there by choice. Because of that, each soldier has their own thoughts about the war, O’Brien has interpreted that “The twenty –six men were very quiet: some of them excited by the adventure, some of them afraid”. This clearly shows how the men
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. First, O’Brien discusses how mortality and death greatly affected many of the men around him. In the chapter ” In the Field” Kiowa is gone and there is nothing they could do to save him. The
Towards the end of the book, O 'Brien talks about the mental change the war creates in your mind that never lets you completely bounce back to civilization. On page 208 and 226, the author explains two strategies the soldiers use to keep themselves sane in Vietnam. They use language tricks, turning miles of marching in the pitch dark was called the “night life”, a burnt body became a “crunchie munchie” or a “crispy critter”; “If it isn’t human, it doesn’t matter much if it’s dead.” On page 215, Tim is new to the war and he hasn’t developed the humor the rest of the guys have, like shaking hands with dead bodies to make the deaths seem less real. The author’s friend, Kiowa, says, “Well, you’re new here.