Necessity in The Things They Carried Essay

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Necessity in The Things They Carried Necessity is a rather slippery concept in terms of definition. The notion of what an individual requires for his or her survival varies with the particular situation at any given time. These needs may intensify or become distorted as one finds himself in an increasingly dangerous situation, particularly a life-and-death one such as war. Such dire circumstances may provoke in an average person feelings of extreme vulnerability, and the desire to hold on to all that he can, not unlike a child's instinct to grasp the nearest object in his search for comfort while in the throes of anxiety. Despite the fact that these "necessary" items or ideas that he clings to may impair or even threaten to destroy…show more content…
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 desperation of the situation that the men faced, a situation that could place comics on the same level as food. Perhaps the emptiness that the men felt drove them to think that they had to carry all of these extra items to survive, because they filled the emotional void that was in their heads, created by the numbingly horrific violence of the war. Another substantially detailed necessity of the men is their military supplies. O'Brien goes into minute detail, for literally pages, describing the supplies that the men used for defense purposes. Primarily, he lists the standard weaponry for war, the typical rifles, grenades, and defensive clothing such as the flak jacket and helmet (6- 7). He relates the enormous burden of weight that Ted Lavender was carrying when he was shot, and how that weight caused him to fall like "a big sandbag or something - just boom, then down." (7) The next passage describes all of the extra weapons they carried, ranging from fragmentation grenades to brass knuckles
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