Violence In Tim O Brien's The Things They Carried

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Numerous scenes in the novel, The Things They Carried, by Tim O'Brien, are riddled with violence. Those horrid scenes shape the themes of a heightened mental state and revenge. The actions of the Alpha Company are driven by emotion and stress. These issues create great problems for the Company, stripping them of their civilized societal standards and leaving only natural human instinct. In a scene where Curt Lemon accidentally steps on a mine and is torn into many pieces, his closest comrade, Rat Kiley, has trouble grieving the loss of his friend. In a furious state, Kiley tortures a water buffalo. This scene represents the emotional and physical torture the men in Vietnam are subjected to. Both the soldiers in Vietnam and the water buffalo are in a position where their lives are out of their control. Just as the water buffalo was tortured to death, most of the men in Alpha Company feel helpless in their situation. Kiley lost his friend and to escape the pain he choses to take it out on the buffalo. This scene also sparks the theme of revenge, and as you read other sections you begin to realize the primitive nature these men have devolved into. In the chapters Friends and Enemies, you see the evolution of emotional trauma through Lee Strunk and Dave Jensen.…show more content…
Through this scene one can understand that even though these men know what they should and shouldn't do, they are put into an environment that does not allow them to care. O’Brien struggles with his decision to avenge Jorgensen for his botched butt. O’Brien blatantly states that although he wouldn't do or agree with his revenge attempt if he was back home, he does it anyway because of the primitive structure of war-life. This holds true for all of the violent scenes in the story. The fight or flight response led them to Vietnam, not Canada, and that response is carried throughout the
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