Essay On The Things They Carried

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“The Things They Carried” provides a personal view into the minds of soldiers, and tells us the emotional and psychological costs of war. First Lieutenant Jimmy Cross is stationed in Vietnam in the middle of the war. He seems to be a man in love, or more like a man in love with the idea of a lady named Martha. He ends up changing from a love struck, blind man into a firm, leading soldier. In this story, the characters do the things they do because of desires and motivations. In “The Things They Carry,” Tim O’Brien underlines the setting, items that characters “humped” (O’Brien, 2009, pg. 3) or carried, and the characters themselves to set the theme. The story takes place during the Vietnam War, during what was supposed to be a…show more content…
(O’Brien, 1990) In addition, all the men had steel helmets that weighed five pounds each. Tim O’Brien also includes the items and weight that each of the other soldiers in Jimmy Cross’s platoon carries. Rat Kiley’s “canvas satchel filled with morphine and plasma and malaria tablets and surgical tape and comic books and all the things a medic must carry, including M&M’s for especially bad wounds for a total weight of nearly eighteen pounds.” (O’Brien, 2009, pg. 5) Henry Dobbins carries a twenty-three-pound unloaded M-60 with approximately fifteen pounds of ammunition draped on his body. Henry Dobbins also carried “his girlfriend’s pantyhose wrapped around his neck as a comforter.” (O’Brien, 1990) Mitchell Sanders carried the Kiowa, an illustrated New Testament and condoms. Norman Bowker carried a diary. Ted Lavender carried six or seven ounces of top-notch dope. Ted Lavender also carried tranquilizers and extra ammunition because “he was scared”. (O’Brien, 1990) All men have “to carry a steel-centered, nylon-covered flak jacket, which weighed 6.7 pounds, but which on hot days seemed much heavier”. (O’Brien, 2009, pg. 3) Psychological burdens of war were just as real as the physical burdens of the soldiers. Those who were blessed enough to survive the war, struggle with confusion, anger, guilt, and lack of resolution. “They all carry ghosts”, (O’Brien, 1990) created by the fickleness of war including the “burden of

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