Valor And Heroes In Tim O Brien's The Things They Carried

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Valor and Heroes in The Things They Carried The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien was published in 1990. The book is set during the Vietnam war, and It is narrated by O’Brien and tells about the war stories that happened. According to Kleinbard, “O’Brien provides a more substantive reality that has no heroes or valor.” It is evident that Kleinbard is partially correct in his assertion because there are times when soldiers like Rat Kiley are heroic and when they are not like. It can be argued that there are heroes and valor seen throughout the book by characters like Rat Kiley, Elroy Berdahl, and Mary Anne Bell. The first time we can see someone being a hero is when O’Brien has been shot and Rat Kiley took the courage to check on him and…show more content…
It can also be argued that throughout the book their are characters that do not show valor or be heroic by characters like Rat Kiley, Bobby Jorgenson, and Norman Bowker. The first time we see someone without valor is when Rat Kiley shot himself in the foot to get out of war. O’Brien had been removed from the squad and the story was told that Rat Kiley had gone silent for days and then he started talking a lot after that. Rat Kiley had gone crazy enough that he shot himself in the foot “The next morning he shot himself” (143). This shows he did not show valor because he took the easy ways out of battle by shooting himself so he could leave the war. The second time we see someone who is not a hero is when O’Brien had been shot a second time and Bobby Jorgenson would not get out to help him. O’Brien recalled when he had been shot and he said “So when I got shot the second time, in the butt, along the Song Tra Bong, it took the son of a bitch almost ten minutes to work up the nerve to crawl over to me”(121). This shows he was not a hero because O’Brien had been shot and Bobby was not willing to run out and help O’Brien when he needed it most. Also when Bobby went to help O’Brien he did a terrible job and nearly let O’Brien die of shock. The final time the reader can see that some characters are not heroes is when Norman let go of Kiowa’s boot and let him die in the fields. There was mortar fire coming down and they were all sinking into the field when “he grabbed Kiowa by the…show more content…
Throughout the book it can be seen that they are some heroes that show valor and some people that are not heroes and won’t show valor. There are times when there are heroes like Rat Kiley saving O’Brien, Elroy Berdahl giving O’Brien a choice, and Mary Anne Bell serving in a war she didn 't have too. There also points when people are definitely not heroes like Rat Kiley shooting himself to get out of war, Bobby not helping O’Brien when he had been shot, and Norman Bowker letting go of Kiowa in the shit fields. Through events like this the people that would enjoy this book would be war veterans. They would enjoy this because it is telling legitimate war stories not some stories glossed over to make it friendly. They would also enjoy it because they may understand the feeling that war gives a person and how the stories will just sort of jump around when telling it or thinking about it

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