The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien continuously uses repetition of talking about the items the soldiers carry mentally and physically to show the burdens of war. Each item O’Brien talks about tells a little about each character and what fears they try to escape from. An example would be “Dave Jensen carried three pairs of socks and a can of Dr.Scholl’s foot powder as a precaution for trench foot.” (O’Brien pg.1) Jensen carried these things so you could be very clean and sanitary this what his break to get away from the chaos that the war brought. All the soldiers have a common fear of death or being seen as a coward during many hardships of the war. To get away from all the pressure and terror war brought each soldier had their own way of coping.
The symbols in The Things They Carried help to make the text more meaningful and how show the theme throughout the story. One of the symbols, the dead Vietnamese soldier, represents the horrors of the war and what all of the soldiers experience on the battlefield. The author copes with the death of the soldier as he does with the other throughout the story. He thinks about what kind of person the soldier was, what he did before the war and what he will do after. Throughout the story O’Brien talks about the burdens of the Vietnam War. All the soldiers carried at least fifty pounds of equipment on their back. That is a lot of weight to continuously carry physically all day long. On top of the physical loads the soldiers carried they also had emotional loads. The narrator says,” Grief, terror, love and longing - these were intangibles, but the intangibles had their own mass and specific gravity, they had tangible weight (p.3)." While they had to deal with fear constantly they also had to worry about their reputations. Every soldier didn’t want to be seen as a coward by the enemy or by all of his fellow soldiers.
O’Brien shows repetition of the soldiers having to...
...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...
...“The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien is a short story base on the lives of a group of soldiers during the later years of the war in Vietnam. In this story, O’Brien examines the burdens of the soldiers and the effects that these burdens can have on man in life-threatening situations. The author describes these burdens referring to the weight that the soldiers carry. These soldiers have to go trough great physical strain but also mental and emotional difficulties that weigh them down immeasurably.
The most obvious need of the men in the story is the supplies that they carry that will keep them physically alive. O'Brien makes this clear by listing every detail and accounting for every ounce of food, clothing and weaponry. He also establishes the importance by listing those items first in the story. "The things they carried were largely determined by necessity," he states on page 2, and he goes on to discuss rations, water, defensive clothing, and necessary sleep gear (2-3). But ironically, in this paragraph he also includes items such as Ted Lavender's "six or seven ounces of premium dope," Rat Kiley's comic books, and Kiowa's Bible and his distrust of the white man (2-3). This indicates the importance of these things to the men, no matter how ironic that may be, because obviously illicit drugs and comics are not necessary to the common man for physical survival purposes. But this irony suggests the...
...Worth The Weight?
“War is hell,” a famous quote from General William Tecumseh Sherman. In The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien, we perceive the hell that men in war undergo. This enticing story is about the personal, mental, and physical hardships of soldiers in the Vietnam War. The title is revealing to the story itself by describing the items the soldiers carried. The tangible items that they lugged around are listed to the reader, but we are also shown the emotional burdens that lay deep in their hearts; this emotional baggage weighing much more than their physical luggage. It is substantial to identify this aspect because the things they carried in their hearts develop both hope and fear; they carry hope for their survival, but they carry the fear of possible death. Hope and fear are apparent in the tale when O’Brien explains what the soldiers in this story carry through the war. The author continues to list all the items hauled by these men, including helmets, canteens and ammunition, but it is no error that he begins the list with the relatively light weight of love letters from home. The letters are symbolic of another burden, which is a heavy one indeed. Every member of the platoon carries physical baggage which they can drop along the roadside, but the equally heavy emotional baggage can never be taken off.
The men require these objects as they continue with the war; they are always...
...Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried is a very uniquely written book. This book is comprised of countless stories that, though are out of order, intertwine and capture the reader’s attention through the end of the novel. This book, which is more a collection of short stories rather than one story that has a beginning and an end, uses a format that will keep the reader coming back for more.
Typically, a novel contains four basic parts: a beginning, middle, climax, and the end. The beginning sets the tone for the book and introduces the reader to the characters and the setting. The majority of the novel comes from middle where the plot takes place. The plot is what usually captures the reader’s attention and allows the reader to become mentally involved. Next, is the climax of the story. This is the point in the book where everything comes together and the reader’s attention is at the fullest. Finally, there is the end. In the end of a book, the reader is typically left asking no questions, and satisfied with the outcome of the previous events. However, in the novel The Things They Carried the setup of the book is quite different. This book is written in a genre of literature called “metafiction.” “Metafiction” is a term given to fictional story in which the author makes the reader question what is fiction and what is reality. This is very important in the setup of the Tim’s writing because it forces the...
...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...