Things They Carried Theme Essay

499 Words2 Pages

In Tim O’Brian’s book, The Things They Carried, he tells the story of Tim who serves in the Vietnam war and is immersed in a war filled with death. O’Brian through his theme of death helps create a story that illustrates the horrors of war, and shows how soldiers carried death both physically and psychologically. For instance, O’Brian conveys how closely war and death are associated together. On page 77, O’Brian writes, “At its core, perhaps, war is just another name for death, and yet any soldier will tell you, if he tells the truth, that proximity to death brings with it corresponding proximity to life” (77). This quote illustrates, how by coming close to dying, one can appreciate life that much more. By experiencing how it feels to almost …show more content…

If war and death are closely associated, then it shows how soldiers in the war must have not only been in situations where they could die, but also that in the war, many people suffered and died. War couldn’t be death, if there weren’t a plethora of causalities. This shows how death is physical. While the quote is quite literary, the implicit meaning is that there were thousands of people dying, and that there were many bodies that had to be carried to safe territory, to the hospital and ultimately to their graves. O’Brian implements the theme of death to quantify the number of those who suffered and have their lives in the Vietnam war. The other way soldiers were affected was through psychological trauma which can be seen on page 130 when O’Brian writes, “"He was slim, dead, almost dainty young man of about twenty. He lay with one leg bent beneath him, his jaw in his throat, his face neither expressive nor inexpressive. One eye was shot. The other was a star-shaped hole."(130) The images of seeing a dismembered and bloodied man, would definitely have a lasting affect on a soldier’s psychological well being.

Open Document