Women's Role In The Things They Carried

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For as long as history is recorded, women have played major roles in various fields. Though they often go uncredited, their impact is indisputable. In The Things They Carried, author Tim O’Brien ascribes the soldiers’ sanity throughout the war to the women in their lives. Despite some lack of presence on the warfront, women play crucial roles by providing the men with solace by reminding them that life goes on outside of Vietnam. They instill hope and remind the men of home, encouraging their safe return. Lieutenant Cross’s infatuation with Martha emphasizes the soldiers’ separation from home, but also provides him with comforting thoughts; Tim O’Brien’s daughter Kathleen enables him recount the war while omitting many of the gruesome details…show more content…
Kathleen offers a unique perspective and questions her father when he becomes too entangled in his memories. He says, “My daughter Kathleen tells me it’s an obsession, that I should write about a little girl who finds a million dollars and spends it all on a Shetland pony. In a way, I guess, she’s right: I should forget it” (O’Brien 33). She encourages O’Brien to not allow his memories to consume him, and being able to put the war past him is a lightening thought. O’Brien’s explanations of the war’s purpose and stories of his experiences are simplified to make it easier for Kathleen, and many others, to understand, which also helps him cope with his recollections of the war. For example, when Kathleen asks how the war began he summarizes, “‘Some people wanted one thing, other people wanted another thing’” (O’Brien 175). This statement is incredibly indifferent for someone who continuously risks his life and witnesses the deaths of many comrades. Such a response demonstrates how greatly he has come to terms with the atrocities he witnesses, no matter how much uncertainty likely surrounds his life—or at least how he wishes his daughter will see his view of the war. Kathleen passively enables her father to develop a new outlook on the
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