War In Tim O Brien's The Things They Carried

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War not only impacts the nations involved, but their inhabitants too. Usually, the ones most directly affected are those on the battlefield. Within Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, through the perspective of a war veteran himself, he illustrated the psychological effects of relocation and of the brutal atmosphere that war was. O’Brien’s internal struggle began as he was contemplating what to do about his draft notice. His “hometown was a conservative little spot…,where tradition counted, and it was easy to imagine people… [talking about] the young O’Brien kid, and how [he was a] damned sissy [for] taking off for Canada” (O’Brien 42-43). By being surrounded by people who would judge him if he went against his duty, it intensified the difficulty of choosing how to respond. Additionally,…show more content…
Given that The Things They Carried was primarily about the mental baggage that war forced upon soldiers while on the battlefield, the hostile atmosphere impacted not just O’Brien, but the men around him as well. For instance, while on patrol, “Lee Strunk and Dave Jensen got into a fistfight… [about] a missing jackknife” (O’Brien 59). Then, Jensen’s anger escalated and resulted in him breaking Strunk’s nose. This incident, originally being a petty scrap, intensified with every passing day, though. Soon, it lead to Jensen “taking special precautions” as “it was mostly in his head [that there was…] a silent tension between them” and an unspoken “vow of revenge” (O’Brien 60). In fact, the continuation of this argument wasn’t because of any excessive violent nature within Jensen. Simply, it “was Vietnam, where guys carried guns… [and] any other circumstance[s like this] might’ve ended [earlier elsewhere]” (O’Brien 59). An aggressive and abusive tone enlaced the air of the war zone and manipulated him; the danger of the environment forced his anxiety beyond his breaking
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