Essay Example on In The Things They Carried Tim O'Brien Narrates









In The Things They Carried Tim O'Brien narrates and recounts his experience in the Vietnam War The Vietnam War was perhaps one of the scariest wars any American could partake in Along with that many American citizens did not support the war in Vietnam making the soldiers power of will lower than those who fought in World War II In any war that someone has fought in they have changed in some way that can leave a permanent impact on themselves When O'Brien was a young man he enters into the draft with disbelief while afraid of the shame that avoiding the war would bring him By the end of the war he feels as if he s a guilt ridden man who tells his stories in order to deal with his saddening memories The Things They Carried describes the variety of things his fellow soldiers in the Alpha Company brought on their missions While each individual carried heavy physical loads along the way they also carried heavy emotional loads 

These emotional weights were composed of grief and terror concluding that each man's physical burden was much less than his emotional burden O Brien guides us through the horror war of how extreme situations can turn a rationally thinking man into a soldier committing unspeakable acts O Brien s storytelling is a sense of comfort to him as a means of coming to terms with the horrors he witnessed as a soldier Tim still thinks that certain things that he saw cannot be explained at all but only can be witnessed by the eye There are manty intangible loads that soldiers had to carry which included fear and guilt While other loads are specific physical objects that included matches morphine and m m s candy Throughout the novel the same characters reappear One of which is Ted Lavender who was a grunt low ranking soldier who deals with his issues about the war by taking tranquilizers and smoking marijuana Sadly this war so gruesome to some men that they had to resort to drugs to be able to cope with themselves Unfortunately Lavender was shot in the head on his way back from going to the bathroom There is also Lieutenant Jimmy Cross who blames himself for the death of Lavender To distract himself from Ted s death Cross thinks of his college crush Martha Even for a long twenty years after the war 

Cross s guilt over Lavender's death remained War changes everyone in a different way and people do certain and uncommon things to themselves in order to get through the war Further to lost soldiers a few other members of the Alpha Company are unfortunately killed One of whom included Curt Lemon who is killed when he steps on a rigged mortar round Although O'Brien wasn't close to Lemon he recounts a time of how Lemon faints before a routine checkup with a dentist Another company member Lee Strunk dies from injuries he sustains by stepping on a landmine O'Brien looks back before Strunk was brutally killed that Strunk and Dave Jensen had made a pact The pact was that if either man were gruesomely harmed the other man would see that his death was quick However when Strunk is brutally hurt he pleas to Jensen to be spared and Jensen agrees It amazes me that troops would make deals with each other to make sure their death is quick and swift It is a good thing considering the fact that a soldier can avoid a slow painful death 

Although Strunk has a will to survive and Jensen has to respect that Of all the brutality in the novel the death that carries the most attention is Kiowa s One of O Brien s close friends and Kiowa's death is carries in review through the memory of Norman Bowker for many years after deployment Bowker thinks that he failed to save Kiowa who was killed when a mortar round made impact He tries to cope with himself by driving around a lake in his Iowa hometown Before the end of the war O Brien received a letter from Bowker saying he hasn t found purpose in life after the war Knowing that the war degrades people to think that they have no purpose after they come back home is astonishing This truly shows how much war can change somebody Those who survived the war carried the weights of guilt and grief as if it was actually on their back Many of the recollections in the novel are about the survivors effort to cope with their experience For example when Jimmy Cross has never forgiven himself for the death of Ted Lavender Also when Norman Bowker s confusion is so strong that he drives aimlessly around his hometown lake While Bowker deals with his psychological duties alone O'Brien shares the things he carries and his war stories with us I know that this has already been mentioned but it is such an important part of the book to note that it truly describes how war can change somebody

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