The war in Vietnam presented many challenges to the soldiers both physically and emotionally. In Tim O’Brien’s book, The Things They Carried, the characters face physical challenges of what they are forced to carry to defeat the enemy. Along with the things they carried, the soldiers were also placed under enormous emotional challenges with death. The characters are forced to deal with their friends and combat partners being shot. This often leads to soldiers feeling like it was their fault for the death of their comrade.
Shawn Achor, psychological researcher, speaker, author and CEO of GoodThinkInc., an American organization which offers services and seminars to promote improved work performance through positive psychology. Achor argues in his February, 2011 presentation at a TEDx event in Bloomington, Indiana, that changing the formula of success and choosing to live in a world where happiness inspires productivity can be achieved by retraining your brain to be more positive over the course of 21-days. The content of Achor’s speech claimed that we are wired to believe happiness comes only after we have achieved success in the form of thoughts like "I'll be happy when I finish school", or "I'll be happy when I find a job." He states the formula we are all
One aspect of returning home that was conveyed by this story was doing actions that earned medals. Norman talks of how he almost got more medals and was had the courage to try and rescue Kiowa’s body but couldn’t do it while under artillery fire. This wasn’t a case of whether he could or couldn’t summon a supply of courage to support his country but just the pure reactions someone
Although Norman was able to live through the war and go home, he was still haunted by Kiowa’s death and was unable to go on. He constantly fought throughout the war, only to go home to more and constant daily battles with himself. This is a way of self punishment and again wanting to relive and change the past which is impossible. This demonstrates PTSD since the soldiers are torturing themselves by reliving moments they can’t change. Also like how Tim O’Brien repeats the same phrase over and over when explaining how he shot a man and is unable to live with it, and only time can heal it.
Norman could really only have an internal conversation hoping his father being proud of himself. When the time came for Norman to go back home after the war, to see his father he not in a rush to explain why he never received the silver star. The fact of Norman riding around the lake several times was his way of reliving the event of losing his friend, Kiowa, in the sewage field shows how Norman blamed himself for the reason Kiowa died; he felt that he could have saved Kiowa if it was not for the stench. Norman Bowker did not feel like there was anybody in his town that he could open up and express his experiences in Vietnam.
During the war, the soldiers all had a tight bond and were more together than separate because they always had each other's backs and supported each other. However, in the years ahead, the only way they can relate is from the past and the emotional weight they carry because of it. After the war, Jimmy visited O’Brien and “then for a long time neither of [them] could think of much to say. The thing to do…[was] switch to gin... and not much later [they] were laughing about some of the craziness that used to go on” (O’Brien 26-27).
War’s Reality We as humans find conflict to be rash and futile, but to the soldiers that fight for our freedom, it is an honor and a privilege, but it is dreadful nonetheless. We are going to be discussing Tim O'Brien's intentions in writing the short story “Where Have You Gone Charming Billy.” It is my understanding that he wrote the story to tell us about war as it is hard to imagine its entirety and that war takes lives. Finally, I believe that he wants us to see how dangerous and terrifying war really is.
When faced with war soldiers change, for better or for worse. Modern culture celebrates the glory of patriotic sacrifice. However, this celebration often leaves out the gritty details and trauma of violence behind war and the way it affects people. Homer’s The Odyssey and William Wyler’s The Best Years of Our Lives clearly discuss these details. Both debate the long-awaited return of warriors that went off to fight a war and the way the experience changes the protagonists.
O’Brien writes, “You can tell a true war story by its absolute and uncompromising allegiance to obscenity and evil” (76). Regardless of the changes within the narrations, the fact remains, that these soldiers are in the middle of battle and the emotion that follows differ for each person. As Kaplan states in his writing, “the most important thing is to be able to recognize and accept that events have no fixed and final meaning and that the only meaning that events can have is one that emerges momentarily and then shifts and changes each time that the events come alive as they are remembered or portrayed”
Bowker felt that he would finally do something meaningful. However, when O’Brien sent him the story, it wasn’t his story at all. O’Brien had left out Vietnam, Kiowa, and the field. Eight months later Bowker hanged himself. This was a very powerful part of the book.
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.
Challenges at War 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.
He fought a war in Vietnam that he knew nothing about, all he knew was that, “Certain blood was being shed for uncertain reasons” (38). He realized that he put his life on the line for a war that is surrounded in controversy and questions. Through reading The Things They Carried, it was easy to feel connected to the characters; to feel their sorrow, confusion, and pain. O’Briens ability to make his readers feel as though they are actually there in the war zones with him is a unique ability that not every author possess.
Norman had felt as if he had no one to talk to or relate to because no one around him had experienced war like he had. He tried to keep jobs when he was home from war, but not one of them had lasted more than 3 weeks. Since he feels he is unable to speak to anyone about war, he writes a letter to O’Brien, telling his entire war story. He soon feels as if he cannot do anything without thinking about war and hangs himself in the locker room of his town’s YMCA.
The short stories he writes center on the importance of companionship and friendship during war, which very well may be first hand accounts since O’Brien knows what it is like to actually be in a war. The stories are narrated by a character named Tim O’Brien, a character with a fictional past named after the author and modeled after his experiences. Tim begins the story by telling the reader what each soldier packs with them to help them ease anxiety or remember home while the group marches, which is inspiration for the title. In this beginning chapter, Tim introduces the reader to each character, and most of the characters introduced in this first chapter will have stories that are focused on them or that they appear in later on in the book. The first chapter will introduce the backstory of many of O’Brien’s closest friends during the war, young soldiers like Kiowa, Lieutenant Cross, and Mitchell Sanders.