“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.
Regret is a powerful emotion that has the ability to scar someone for the rest of their life. Moments of regret can come from relationships, self-made decisions and life changing events. The idea of regret also applies to “A Marker on the Side of the Boat” by Bao Ninh and “On the Rainy River” by Tim O’Brien. Although these two literary pieces are very different in many ways, both authors describe the experience of the Vietnam War as a time of regretful decisions that negatively impacted people of both the American side and the Vietnamese side. Both authors tell a story about a character that recalls of flashbacks of the war, where they grieve over the past decisions that have affected them for the rest of their life.
Tim O’Brien’s uncommon ending sentence that have caught many people by surprise in the story, “Where have you gone, Charming Billy?” which was wrote as a historical fiction that revolves around the Vietnamese war. It leads you to O’Brien’s perspective on why war is bad. The story also shows how things are not okay, even after the war. O’Brien shows the realities of war through repetition of thoughts about fear, how soldiers deal with it, and the effect it has on their actions.
Although Tim O’Brien and the rest of the soldiers return to their houses at the end of the Vietnam War, they did not actually retire to their homes. Even though the words “house” and “home” have the same definitions, their connotations are polar opposites. A house is described as an actual building where people live, but a home is a place of familiarity that one longs to return to in order to feel comfort and support. For the soldiers in Vietnam and Tim O’Brien especially, their idea of home is altered by their experiences in the war, leaving them drowning in feelings of exile (Chen). Without any place to go or any home to return to at the end of the war, the soldiers are left to discover new coping mechanisms for their lives on their own.A home is supposed to be the place where they can escape from their past realities and advance forward, but without this
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. The novel focuses on coping with the death and horror of war. It also speaks volumes about the true nature of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and the never-ending struggle of dealing with it. In the
O’Brien portrays this story as, “...cause embarrassment for all of us” (O’Brien 37). When he went down the river, he had to make a choice. Whether he was going to stay and fight for his country bravely, or he was going to run away to Canada, as society describes, like a “pu***”. “It was a choice in the river. Twenty yards. I could've done it. I could've jumped and started swimming for my life. Inside me, in my chest, I felt a terrible squeezing pressure” (54). By directly addressing himself, he created sympathy for the main character which ultimately leads the reader to feel like O’Brien was someone they had known, and by doing so the reader could emphasize with the psychology of O’Brien. O’Brien was depressed because of the position society put him under; he was going to make a choice which would be his identity in the society for the rest of his life. A “runaway” or a “war hero?” The psychology of a confused and depressed young man was shown and repeated. Throughout the book, “psychology of the soldier” was a topic O’Brien examined deeply by telling his memories, so this brought up the question “whether war is moral or
Tim O’Brien gives a very detailed and intense description of his time fighting in Vietnam during their war with America. O’Brien describes certain objects or events in his novels that can come only from memory not imagination. Tim O’Brien uses the rhetoric device of imagery to add a deeper truth to his novel and immerse the reader in the horrors of the
In the book The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien, the soldiers have to carry a lot of things physically and mentally. One of the biggest things the soldiers have to carry is conflict, but not just between other people, inside of themselves as well. In the book The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien the author has an internal conflict of whether to go fight in the war in Vietnam or to run away to Canada which he tells through the story “On the Rainy River.”
War can have a profound effect on soldiers who have witnessed the atrocities that occur on the battlefield. Death becomes a part of their everyday life, however; it is the reaction to this and the coping mechanisms that soldiers use that defines true self from that of the field. This essay will examine Tim O’Brien’s short stories “The Things They Carried” and “How to Tell a True War Story” in order to show how the soldiers dealt with death through their responses and attitudes.
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. So let’s explore this complication.
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.
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.
The Things They Carried is a novel written by Tim O'Brien which follows the daily thoughts, actions, and moments of a company serving in the Vietnam War. The meaning of this work was to depict the gruesome images and effects of war as well as the toll it can take on people. This is executed by utilizing morally ambiguous characters, which are characters whose behavior discourages readers from identifying them as purely evi or purely good. Many characters in the book are morally ambiguous, but one, an unnamed vietcong soldier who was killed in the novel stands out the most.
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.
Unless you have been in war or have read The Things They Carried, you can't fully