“Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind” (John F. Kennedy). In the novel The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien he wrote stories about what being in Vietnam war was like. O’Brien wrote the book nonlinear because that is how he remembered the stories. Tim O’Brien let readers get a first hand look on what war is like and what it can really do to someone who was in war. Tim O’Brien used the themes shame/guilt and storytelling/memory to let people who want to understand what war is like to get a better understanding and what it does to a soldier mentally and physically. The chapter “The Ghost Soldiers,” connects with the theme shame and guilt because O’Brien felt guilty and had trouble dealing with the past situations …show more content…
Tim O’Brien listens to a story told by one of the soldiers Rat kelly. In the chapter “Sweetheart of the song Tra Bong” O’Brien learns of Mary Anne Bell and how the war changed her. Mary Anne was a girlfriend of Mark Fossie, who was one of the soldiers Tim O’Brien knew. Mark Fossie brought her out to Vietnam to show her off. When Mary Anne first got to Vietnam she was nervous about the outcome. The more Mary Anne was there the more comfortable she got and she started to become out of control. The soldiers had no idea who she was becoming and they knew it was because of the war, “For a long while the girl gazed down at Fosse, almost blankly, and in the candlelight her face had the composure of someone perfectly at peace with herself” (O’Brien, 105). Rat Kelly’s memory recalled Mary Anne changing while she was in Vietnam. She started to kill and turn into someone other than when he first emt, but her attitude was still there that everyone loved. O’Brien shared this story readers understand that the war can change anyone and …show more content…
Tim O’Brien uses detail to let readers know his emotions during the war. “I felt paralyzed. All around me the options seemed to be narrowing, as if I were hurtling down a huge black funnel, the whole world squeezing in tight” (O’brien, 41). He was stuck with the feeling of scared and not knowing what to do. He used detailed words to have readers try to understand what he was feeling. He was feeling loads of pressure but also felt numb while he was waiting to go into war when he got picked in the draft. He didn’t know what to do and really used his words to let the readers know what he was feeling. He uses great detail in the story he is telling. He wants readers to try and understand what people in the draft felt when they got called and how hard going to war can actually affect a
Mary Anne Bell was a young girl who was brought to Vietnam by her boyfriend Mark. She was known to be, “coy and flirtatious” (O’Brien 91). She was always curious, asking lots of questions about things. She started to get more distant from Mark.
One often recalls the pounds and pounds of gear soldiers in war must carry: rifle, knife, helmet, body armor, grenades, and many more. In The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien begins the novel with a detailed description of the physical gear soldiers carried in Vietnam; with each listed item, the total weight of a soldier’s equipment slowly grew into a massive number. One would assume the equipment would prove to be a soldier’s largest burden in the battlefield. Although the soldiers in Vietnam certainly carry backbreaking amounts of equipment, their emotional and psychological burdens far outweigh their physical gear. “Grief, terror, love, longing - these were intangibles, but the intangibles had their own mass and specific gravity, they had
More often than not, soldiers and people in a war zone will be affected by the war one way or another. Either that being during or after the war, one could have a negative or positive outlook on the war, but one single event could automatically change that person's behavior. During 1957-1973, the longest war in the United States history took place, the Vietnam War. Many soldiers have lost their lives in this battle, but the ones that survived have significantly changed from this event.
By doing so, he ironically constructs a poignant set of truths. The significance of his is that it shows his experiences before, during, and after the war. But it also showed something far larger than his experiences. This book shows the nature of storytelling, truth, memory, and imagination in general. Going to this war questioned his own motives, and this is how we truly see what this man went through.
People often reminisce about the decisive victories and suffering defeats of war, but the overwhelming horrors and tragedies of the actual soldiers are often overlooked. Because of this harsh truth, Tim O’Brien sheds light on the physical and psychological burdens on the life of a common soldier through his autobiography, The Things They Carried. Despite all the atrocities found in the Vietnam War, O’Brien still manages to appreciate life and all the people around him. Through all of this, everyone who reads this book can learn something new about the world around them in addition to something about themselves. Ultimately, The Things They Carried should stay in the curriculum because it truly shows the terrors and hardships of war, exemplifies
O’Brien starts off the chapter with Rat telling the story of Mary coming to Vietnam. Tim gives hints about Rat’s character when he tells about how he tells stories like “he wanted to heat up the truth”(85) or “facts were formed by sensation”(85). After Rat is given a short background, Tim moves on to explain his story of Mary. Rat describes her characteristics like “barely out of high school”(86) and “white culottes and this sexy pink sweater”(86). Rat’s choice of words helps describe Mary’s innocent tone and portrays her naive and new mind to Vietnam.
O’Brien presents a story in which he kills an innocent Vietnamese man walking through the woods. He describes the guilt and remorse he feels for his actions. He references this story several times throughout the book. Around the third time he admits that the guy he specifically described was not real, and that in fact he never killed anyone in the war, but the fact that he witnessed so many deaths put him at fault. “I remember his face, which was not a pretty face because his jaw was in his throat, and I remember feeling the burden of responsibility and grief.
When most people think of war, they think of all the physical damages, terror, and destruction. Even though the physical damages and deaths are scary and can cause burdens, the emotional stance and psychological effects of war are the more devastating and destructive parts of war. Throughout the novel The Things They Carried, Tim O'Brien articulates how times of war brings out the powerful effects of shame, guilt, and fear on the human mind. The intangible negative emotions that every soldier carries may not have physical weight, but is a burden that every man possesses. Shame; the feeling of embarrassment, feeling as if other people are judging the actions one takes.
People go through life experiencing both big and small events. The soldiers had to deal with fear, guilt ,and death at war. These things can change a person for the better, or for the worse, but it’s what they do after the events that make them who they are. For soldiers in war, this is what they have to deal with everyday when they were in Vietnam fighting. Tim O’Brien tells of these stories in The Things They Carried to show how war can change their mentality and their destiny in life.
1 In “Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong,” the protagonist is Fossie’s GIrlfriend, Mary Anne, who comes to the medical base in Vietnam to stay with Fossie. She comes very new and shiny and girly but then becomes dark and manly and obsessed with the war. Figurative Language - In the beginning when Mary Anne first arrives, Rat describes her as, “ She had long white legs and blue eyes and complexion like strawberry ice cream.”
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.
Cross’ overall experience with Martha and the soldiers? The Vietnam War was one of the most unpredictable and controversial wars that the United States had fought in. Due to the unfamiliar jungle environment, there were many casualties and horrifying experiences. Many people were getting anxious about the war and wanted the soldiers to return.
In the book, The Things They Carried, the narrator, and author, Tim O'Brien faces several different obstacles that he has to overcome. The main one that he goes through all starts when he gets his draft notice for the Vietnam Wa. He has to decide whether or not he should be brave, and fight. Or if he should pack up his things, and leave for Canada. For some people, making the decision to go to war or to flee would be a no brainer, but it was a different story for Tim O' Brien.
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.
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. This chapter also contain a lot of psychological lens. From the way Tim O’Brien felt when he was shot and separated from his unit to a new unit to when he wanted revenge on Bobby Jorgenson for almost “killing” him.