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.
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.
On both sides, countless lives were cut short and wasted. They were denied their innocence by death. Several examples of this in The Things They Carried include Lavender, Kiowa, and the young communist man that O’Brien kills with a grenade. "He was not a fighter. His health was poor, his body small and frail.
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.
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.
In Tim O’Brien’s novel, “The Things They Carried,” about the Vietnam war, courage is described as a necessity for all soldiers. He uses both him and his comrade’s circumstances to describe this. Throughout the novel the motif of courage evolves as characters serve in the Vietnam War. Being drafted into the Vietnam war forced O’Brien to become a soldier and participate in the war. His distaste for the war made it difficult for him to find the mental courage to fight in Vietnam which he thought was avoidable.
Throughout the narrative, O’Brien recounts the demise of his fellow soldiers, amassing uncontrollable guilt to have survived, “This constant reference to his fellow soldier’s demise is the guilt and confusion he feels.” (Weatherspoon). The psychological impact the soldiers face in The Things They Carried is carefully crafted using apathy, fear and guilt to tell the despondent
“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.
Death, especially of a close family member or friend, can cause one to lose hope. Death could include a loss of a loved one, a loss of oneself, or a loss of a passion. In The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien reveals the significance of death each soldier must come to terms with and the impact that death has on them, their character, and their actions. Each soldier carries objects that represent who they are, what they long for, and what they love. This is what remains constant for the boys in a world of war and death.
In war, there is a winning side and a losing side, but both suffer casualties. Afflictions are not always dealt in death and physical pain, but also emotional damage. In Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, he emphasizes war’s capabilities to change people. When Mary Anne, a sweet, innocent, all-American girl, arrives in Vietnam to be with her soldier boyfriend, change is inevitable, and she will eventually lose her naiveté. O’Brien utilizes personification, jarring imagery, hyperbole, and pathos to convey that war shatters all innocence, no matter how hard one may try to avoid the change.
The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien is a collection of short stories about the Vietnam war. The title's significance refers to both the emotional and physical baggage that the characters in the stories carry. Although the soldiers carry heavy physical baggage, they also carry the heavy emotional loads of the war, such as shame, guilt and escapism. In the first chapter, the author catalogs physical items like weapons, water, and medical gear.
Psychological Warfare in The Things They Carried Unless you have been in war or have read The Things They Carried, you can't fully understand the psychological toll on a person's mind and body, you can't understand the psychological hardship soldiers go through in war. However, The Things They Carried, by Tim O'Brien, is written to where it shows the overall psychological effects of war on soldiers in and out of Vietnam; as shown throughout the story, the recurring themes of trauma, love, and guilt give the clear psychological implications of war.
Literary analysis 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,
Jimmy Cross is the first lieutenant who carries pictures and letters from Martha, the woman he loves who—sadly—does not love him back. The pictures and letters from Martha symbolize Jimmy’s longing to be loved and comforted. It is ironic that although he is the first lieutenant who is expected to take charge and lead others, yet he never took charge of his own love life. This is a regret and burden Cross carries to the end of the story. “It was very sad, he thought.
The theme and his life experience are relatable because his experiences of war is what the theme is telling us readers, that war isn’t a friendly experience and sometimes a lie can better the truth of a war story. Within the article “Voicing Vietnam” it states, “ Tim O’Brien, who two decades earlier was a soldier in Vietnam. His account of what happened — amid the hamlets and forests of the Batangan Peninsula and in other areas of operation — to him and the other members of his platoon is punctuated by rueful, sometimes anguished reflections on the elusiveness of meaning and the fraught relationship between truth and invention.” Throughout the novel, there are different stories for each chapter that are all based upon being at war, however each story that is told are about different results that occur within the soldier's emotional state and also how each cope with their fellow soldier’s death. What O’Brien does to these stories that aren’t real, he continues to do small twists