“That’s what stories are for. Stories are for joining the past to the future ... Stories are for eternity, when memory is erased, when there is nothing to remember except the story” (36). The Things They Carried is a captivating novel that gives an inside look at the life of a soldier in the Vietnam War through the personal stories of the author, Tim O’Brien . Having been in the middle of war, O’Brien has personal experiences to back up his opinion about the war. In The Things They Carried, O’Brien reveals his view on war through telling his readers how the Vietnam War had no point, was emotionally devastating, and displaying that there is no purpose in war unless the soldiers know what they are fighting for.
In November of 1955, the United States entered arguably one of the most horrific and violent wars in history. The Vietnam War is documented as having claimed about 58,000 American lives and more than 3 million Vietnamese lives. Soldiers and innocent civilians alike were brutally slain and tortured. The atrocities of such a war are near incomprehensible to those who didn’t experience it firsthand. For this reason, Tim O’Brien, Vietnam War veteran, tries to bring to light the true horrors of war in his fiction novel The Things They Carried. The novel focuses on coping with the death and horror of war. It also speaks volumes about the true nature of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and the never-ending struggle of dealing with it. In the
Tim O’Brien gives a very detailed and intense description of his time fighting in Vietnam during their war with America. O’Brien describes certain objects or events in his novels that can come only from memory not imagination. Tim O’Brien uses the rhetoric device of imagery to add a deeper truth to his novel and immerse the reader in the horrors of the
Teenagers have always sought to be their own person, forgoing rules and even recommendations in favour of self-determination. While an honourable undertaking, this path to self-discovery, leads them to experience new ordeals, where mistakes will be made. To reassure us that these mistakes are not necessarily bad, Elizabeth Alexander, in her poem "Nineteen", illustrates how youth 's desire for freedom¬ and to escape from their reality allows them to grow into adulthood and leads them to make choices that will impact their perception of the world. This theme will be analysed through structure, symbolism and contrast.
In “Where Have You Gone Charming Billy?” by Tim O’Brien, the narrator demonstrates imagination in his attempt to distract himself from stress. An example of the narrator’s imagination is when he revisits memories “camping with his father” (1). This shows his original thought process; he is envisioning his father instead of focusing on the current war, he is thinking of a fun point in his life. Another time the story teller exhibits originality is when he was “pretending that the steps were dollar bills and for each step through the night made him richer and richer” (1). Lastly, the narrator demonstrates creative thinking when he thought of the letter that Billy’s family would receive that would say “SORRY TO INFORM
In the book The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien, the soldiers have to carry a lot of things physically and mentally. One of the biggest things the soldiers have to carry is conflict, but not just between other people, inside of themselves as well. In the book The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien the author has an internal conflict of whether to go fight in the war in Vietnam or to run away to Canada which he tells through the story “On the Rainy River.”
In the novel The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien expresses to the reader why the men went to the war and continued to fight it. In the first chapter, “The Things They Carried,” O’Brien states “It was not courage, exactly; the object was not valor. Rather they were too frightened to be cowards.” The soldiers went to war not because they were courageous and ready to fight, but because they felt the need to go. They were afraid and coped with their lack of courage by telling stories (to themselves or aloud) and applied humor to the situations they encountered.
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.
In Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, the author retells the chilling, and oftentimes gruesome, experiences of the Vietnam war. He utilizes many anecdotes and other rhetorical devices in his stories to paint the image of what war is really like to people who have never experienced it. In the short stories “Spin,” “The Man I Killed,” and “ ,” O’Brien gives reader the perfect understanding of the Vietnam by placing them directly into the war itself.
A Rumor of War by Philip Caputo shows the hard work and difficult tasks the men had to go through to prove themselves and protect their country. The war will change the men’s attitudes and the way they do everything. Men made sacrifices in the Vietnam War most people would never make in a lifetime, they will not just sacrifice but push themselves physically harder than most any other men. The men will also emotionally change from constantly watching other men die, or killing other men. The mens first kill was always the hardest for them, mentally they had so many thoughts of the other mans close ones back home and what they would go through and how it would be all their fault. Men went through so many tasks during the Vietnam War physically and mentally.
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.
Bruce Weigl’s poem “Song of Napalm” juxtaposes Timothy O’Brien’s The Things They Carried. Each work of literature depicts the struggles of the authors in a fictional, yet documentary way of their experiences and time fighting in the Vietnam War. The Vietnam War which erupted from 1955 till its end in 1975 affected people all across the seas. In America, men were called to military service to bear arms against North Vietnam and the attempt at the advancement of communism. Throughout the two works of literature, Weigl and O’Brien, both speak on their experiences during the Vietnam War. While both speak of the same topic, each author has varying reactions and testimonials to the conflict. Even though they each experienced the same war, each person
O'Brien, is written to where it shows the overall psychological effects of war on soldiers in and
America’s war heroes all have the same stories to tell but different tales. Prescribed with the same coloring page to fill in, and use their methods and colors to bring the image to life. This is the writing style and tactic used by Tim O’Brien in his novel, “The Things They Carried”. Steven Kaplan’s short story criticism, The Undying Certainty of the Narrator in Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, provides the audience with an understanding of O’Brien’s techniques used to share “true war” stories of the Vietnam War. Kaplan explains the multitude of stories shared in each of the individual characters, narration and concepts derived from their personal experiences while serving active combat duty during the Vietnam War,
In 2013 when Viet Thanh Nguyen began to write The Sympathizer, it had been 40 years since the Vietnam War. It had been 40 years since French and American military involvement ravaged a once beautiful countryside and littered lush forests with napalm. It had been 40 years since 2 million people were displaced from their country and left to die in the Pacific Ocean. In those 40 years, many works were published about the Vietnam War. These stories came from many, contrasting, perspectives. Young or old, male or female, the war was told differently by every person who was involved in the battle, no matter how small their role. Despite the cacophony of standpoints vying to tell the definitive tale of what happened in Vietnam, the perspective of