Settings and Circumstances in The Things They Carried
Stories from the Vietnam War are not only told, but experienced by Tim O'Brien in the novel, The Things They Carried. Years after the Vietnam War, O'Brien writes a series of in-depth stories in regards to the platoon and himself as they are forced to endure numerous traumatizing events and emotional burdens during their service in the war. When one is put through such harsh events and emotional trauma, it changes the manner in which they behave and act after the war has ended. It is evident that the settings and circumstances in The Things They Carried significantly influences the actions and behaviors of the soldiers including fear, loneliness as well as mental and physical sufferings.
There are different types of fears and going through war brings out the most of them. Jensen experiences an immense amount of anxiety and fear. In war, when you attack the enemy, you expect to get hit back or at least expect some sort of retaliation. This retaliation carried onto Jensen when he fractures Strunk's nose. Although Strunk never mentions that he plans on taking revenge, Jensen remains fearful. He is so afraid of what Stunk might do that "…late that same night he borrowed a pistol, gripped it by the barrel and used it like a hammer to break his own nose" (O'Brien, 85). Being put in the situation of expecting something to occur causes Jensen to break his own nose, this is all driven by fear. Almost everyone fears their own death, being placed in war would drive one insane. Ted Lavender, the soldier who carried tranquilizers was terrified of dying. As Tim states what some of the soldiers are carrying, he mentions Ted Lavender, "carried more than 20 pounds of ammunition, plus the flak jacket, helmet and rations and water and toilet paper and tranquilizers and all the rest, plus the unweighed fear” (O'Brien, 30). It is evident that Ted Lavender was not fit for war mentally without the drugs and tranquillizers....
"The Things They Carried," by Tim O'Brien. At first it seemed to be just another war story. As I started reading I thought I was not going to have any interest at all in the story; however after I got into the story I found myself more interested than I thought I was going to be. This story is an excellent representation of war itself. It is very realistic and easy to relate to even without any personal experience with war. The title itself paves the way for the entire story, it could not be any better for the story then it is. The entire story is about "the things they carried," and the author does choose to go into great detail about the things that they did carry. Hence the title.
While I was reading this book one question that kept running through my mind was in regard to the depth of information about the physical weights of the soldiers' items. Why would O'Brien go into this much detail about how much every individual item weighs? One thought on this that came to mind was that perhaps it is not so much about the physical weight, some of it’s about the overall psychological experience alongside it. War is very stressful and can easily become more than one can handle. I think that Tim O'Brien does a very good job at throwing in all of that information about how much this weighs and who has to carry that to almost overwhelm the reader. When...
...The Things They Carried in “The Things They Carried,” by Tim O’Brien
In “The Things They Carried,” by Tim O’Brien the theme of “carrying” both physical and emotional objects by the main characters can be found in the novel. While these men carry the same standard physical army gear, they differentiate with personal tangible and intangible items. From Lieutenant Cross’s responsibility of his men, to Henry Dobbin’s girlfriend’s pantyhose for its magic, each man faced the war with these things attached.
Jimmy Cross being the immature lieutenant is affected being responsible of his men, and carries much of the war’s burden. Every time one of Cross’s men dies, he experiences deep regrettable feelings that he should have been a better leader to have prevented his death. The death of Ted Lavender is carried heavily by Cross, because he was distracted by the thoughts of his love, Martha. Yet again, Cross feels he should have been a better leader. Jimmy Cross also carries the picture of Martha, and the “lucky” pebble from the woman who does not return the love or talk of the war in their exchange of letters. Martha’s picture can represent Cross’s escape to his life before the war, and his hopeful thoughts for after the war. These emotions of guilt and loss are still carried by Jimmy Cross after the war.
Henry Dobbins was one of the bigger fellows of...
...inspiration to write the story “The Things They Carried.” O’Brien tells the story in third person narrative form about Lt. Jimmy Cross and his platoon of young American men in the Vietnam War. In “The Things They Carried” we can see differences and similarities between the characters by the things they hold close to them.
In this critical review I would like to critique Tim O’Brien’s characterization. O’Brien’s expression towards each character is very unique because not one of them is exactly alike. They all differ in age and ethnicity, and have different views on the Vietnam War. They bear the weight of their country on their backs, but they also have different emotions weighing on their hearts. “The Things We Carried” takes in Vietnam during the Vietnam War. First Lieutenant Jimmy Cross and his platoon are in the fields of Vietnam. His platoon includes: Mitchell Sanders (Radio Telephone Operator), Rat Kiley (Medic), Henry Dobbins (Machine Gunner), Kiowa, Norman Bowker, Ted
Lavender, Dave Jensen, Lee Strunk, and a few other soldiers that O’Brien doesn’t name in the story.
The platoon would follow Lieutenant Jimmy Cross across the hills, valleys, swamps, rivers, mountains, and everything else you could imagine. Each soldier carried at least twenty pounds of supplies, weapons, and rations on their backs. They would walk all day, and all night....
...The things they carried,by Tim O'brien
"Oh man, you fuckin' trashed the fucker. You scrambled his sorry self, look at that, you did, you laid him out like fuckin' Shredded Wheat." I chose to start off my essay with this particular exert from the book because I think that it very much represents the story in itself. Azar said this, after Tim (supposedly) killed a Vietnamese soldier with a hand grenade. It shows that in times of war, how callous men can become. However, callousness varies, whether they chose to be apathetic, like Tim shows us after his grenade episode. Or whether they choose to be more myopic, as shown through Azar's insensitive actions (i.e. the young lady's tragic loss, the puppy, need I say more?). "The things they carried" by Tim O'Brien is a tale, not about war, but rather about war's affect on one's mentality.
In "the things they carried", author Tim O'Brien tries to teach readers that war changes people, by using baggage as a symbol throughout the book. Ultimately, "the things they carried" is literally built on a foundation of the things they carried. Whether it's the way Jimmy Cross uses the pebble to escape from his duties as a soldier. Or the way that they all look up to the pantyhose as an almost godly relic. All the way to Norman Bowker finally realizing that courage comes from within, not...
...a story an example of this is Tim O'Brien's "The Things They Carried". As the story goes on it shows not only the literal meaning of what they carried but also symbolically the burdens that they had mentally.
In the literal sense O'Brien talks about what different members of a platoon in Vietnam carried. This helps him to move to a more symbolic sense at the end of the story. He starts by talking about necessities and slowly moves on to what they carried to remind them that there was a world out side of the war. "Among the necessities or near necessities were p-38 can openers, pocket knifes, heat tabs, wrist watches, dog tags, mosquito repellent, chewing gum, candy, cigarettes, salt tablets, packets of Kool-Aid, lighters, matches, sewing kits, Military Payment Certificates, C rations, and two or three canteens of water." But as the story moves on it shows other things that were considered necessities to them even though to some one else they might seem a luxury. Such as Kiowa carrying his grandfather's hatchet. These are obviously not necessities to others but were one for them. In the story the theme of weight kept coming up. Literally he meant the weight of each weapon, ration, and body armor, ECT "it was SOP for each man to carry a steel-centered, nylon-covered flak jacket, which weight 6.7 pounds " Weight is used in this story to help show the symbolic meaning of weight...
...The Things They Carried Essay
In the book The Things They Carried guilt plays a huge role in how the men react and carry themselves. How does the guilt affect the men and how they carry themselves? In the book, the men in Alpha Company felt guilt for many things. Some felt guilty from killing while others from letting people get killed. In a way everyone feels guilty from something different, but yet they are feeling the same. Some of the men take the guilt in different ways some write while other burn pictures of the ones they loved. It can be said the guilt has changed the way they will carry themselves for the rest of their lives. I guess you could say that all soldiers in these situations would do the same that the men of Alpha did.
The first person that we see that feels guilty is Jimmy Cross. Jimmy was the lieutenant of Alpha company. Jimmy was not the leader type he was always thinking of home and the girl he liked, Martha “More than anything he want Martha to love him as he loved her”(O’Brien page1) . Jimmy kept Martha's picture and thought of her often. Jimmy would think of her on the beach, in volleyball, etc. One day Jimmy and his men were clearing the VC tunnels. Jimmy was thinking of Martha the whole time. Not soon after one of Jimmy's men, Ted Lavender was shot and killed. Jimmy immediately felt the guilty of not being on task and letting one of his men die. Jimmy...
“The Things They Carried”
Thesis Statement: In “The Things They Carried,” the soldier uses physical objects to calm their secret fears. This symbolizes emotions, spiritual burdens within the objects that symbolize times, places, and also what they feared. Another thing we are not aware of is when the author mentions dust which is a constant reminder to the soldiers that they are not safe.
In this short story the narrator wanted to express the loneliness the soldiers felt and distressed because of the lives lost in this War was catastrophic. The narrator also uses his own personal experiences from Vietnam, thus allowing him to cope. Later on in the story you also see the slight psychological damages the soldiers will have.
When referring to the items in the story the narrator uses them to symbolize, the characters, photos, and letters. “The items structure both the story and the book.”(Henningfeld 1) Allowing a great deal of vision in the story, the narrator shares his stories and as well as other characters who also tell their stories. Soldiers items that they are carrying is more of a metaphor because what each soldier is actually carrying is fear, the feeling of being alive, and his haunting memories.
The place in which this particular story takes place is in Vietnam. On April 16 the narrator mentions this particular date because it is when Ted Lavender dies. O’Brien mentions the month of...
1 February 2013
The Burden In The Things They Carried
“The Things They Carried”, a short story written by Tim O’Brien, displays an unfolding sequence of events that strongly examines the physicical, psychological, and emotional damage the soldiers beared during the Vietnam War. Not only did they carry the weapons needed for battle, but they carried personal items to get them through the rough times. The story might seem like a never-ending list of the physical belongings the soldiers are hauling, but in actuality it is about what they are mentally carrying. They carriedthings you cannot see but rather feel, such as guilt, shame, fear, memories, heartbreak, and stress. O’Brien goes beyond the repulsion of the Vietnam War to scrutinize the nature of bravery and despair. The men’s physical loads were a burden that served to take their minds off of more personal issues, such as their own integrity.
First Lieutenant Jimmy Cross was the leader of the pack. He was responsible for their actions, and lives. He carried everything but reliability. There was one person keeping him from doing his duties during the war. Her name was Martha; she was a junior in college. He felt strong feelings for her but she did not feel the same. “To carry something was to “hump” it, as when Lieutenant Jimmy Cross humped his love for Martha up the...