War In The Things They Carried, By Tim O Brien

1103 Words5 Pages

Between the danger of firefights, the suspense of night raids, and the explosions of mortar strikes soldiers experience many near-death experiences. These experiences, however, give soldiers an irreplaceable rush of adrenaline and endorphins. Throughout the novel “The Things They Carried,” Tim O’Brien uses many different stories from his friends and his time fighting in Vietnam to illustrate the ups and downs of war and the effect it has on those involved. Through the use of different perspectives, he is able to give the full Vietnam experience ranging from the fun with group members to witnessing the death of a close friend. In The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien illustrates how war can give soldiers a feeling of belonging, camaraderie, and …show more content…

As Mary Anne is explaining to Mark Fossie how Vietnam makes her feel in “Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong”, she proclaims, “I feel close to myself. When I’m out there at night I feel close to my own body…It’s like I’m full of electricity and I’m glowing in the dark-I’m on fire almost- burning away into nothing- but it doesn’t matter because I know exactly who I am. You can’t feel like that anywhere else” (106). Mary Anne’s proclamation illustrates the addictive nature of the feelings of deep connection to oneself that are inspired by the life-or-death experiences of …show more content…

My life, I mean. It’s almost like I got killed over in Nam…Hard to describe. That night when Kiowa got wasted, I sort of sank down into the sewage with him…Feels like I’m still in deep shit” (150). After Norman returns home following his time in Vietnam he feels as if there is nothing for him to do, and no satisfaction to be had. When he says “It’s almost like I got killed over in Nam'' clearly illustrates that he feels his life has not been the same since he returned:(colon) his life no longer has a purpose. Bowker feels as though his life ended over in Vietnam because of the trauma he experienced; he cannot move past this trauma and adapt to life as a civilian. Norman Bowker’s experience showcases how soldiers returning from war feel as if their life no longer has any meaning. Furthermore, soldiers become dependent on the adrenaline brought by danger to keep them from becoming despondent; without it, they struggle to cope. This is illustrated when Tim is reminiscing on his time-fighting. In “Ghost Soldiers” while Tim is recovering from his gunshot wound he reminisces on his time in the heat of war, he says, “ There were times when I missed the adventure, even the danger, of the real war out in the boonies…The presence of death and danger has a way of bringing you fully awake”

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