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.
One of the most overlooked aspects in the life of a soldier is the weight of the things they carry. In Tim O'Brien's story, "The Things They Carried," O'Brien details the plight of Vietnam soldiers along with how they shoulder the numerous burdens placed upon them. Literally, the heavy supplies weigh down each soldier -- but the physical load imposed on each soldier symbolizes the psychological baggage a soldier carries during war. Though O'Brien lists the things each soldier carries, the focal point centers around the leader, Lieutenant Jimmy Cross, and his roles in the war. Lt. Cross has multiple burdens, but his emotional baggage is
In the repeated use of ideas of weight throughout his short story “The Things They Carried”, Tim O’Brien highlights its pivotal symbolism: the intense burden of fear, especially of their own mortality, experienced by the soldiers, and thus weight’s role as the most important word in the text. O’Brien accomplishes this effect through recurring references to weight in relation to Ted Lavender’s death, and his frequent use of weight and weightlessness metaphors in the dreams of Lieutenant Jimmy Cross and the other soldiers. Using the character’s ideas of weight to investigate their emotional reality, O’Brien’s explores heaviness and lightness in both physical and metaphysical connotations providing ample evidence for weight’s central symbolic purpose within the text.
In "The Things They Carried," O'Brien made reference to the Vietnam war that was closely associated with the physical, psychological, and emotional weight the soldiers beared. The overall method of presentation of this story incorporated many different outlooks on the things the soldiers carried, dealt with, and were forced to adapt to. In addition to this, O'Brien showed us the many reasons why and how the soldiers posessed these things individually and collectively and how they were associated directly and indirectly. The strong historical content in "The Things They Carried" helped emphasize the focus of the story and establish a clearer understanding of details in the
Each of the soldiers in this novel carried their own mental thoughts, mementos, and real items with them during the war. Some of the personal momentos consisted of photographs, girlfriends clothing, and lucky charms. Going into and living through a war, comes with a side effect of having mental thoughts and feelings. These mental effects and feelings can affect how the soldiers react while in combat. “They carried the common secret of cowardice barely restrained, the instinct to run or freeze or hidden and in many respects this was the heaviest burden of all, for it could never be put down, it required perfect balance and perfect posture. They carried their reputations” (O’Brien 20). This quote on page 20 is used to talk about and demonstrate how the men had emotions and thoughts every day while they were in Vietnam, which had affected their mindset and reaction to things they encountered. On top of carrying these mental thoughts, the men had been required to carry real physical items into the war prone areas of Vietnam. The novel states “the soldiers “hump” in the Vietnam War--assorted weapons, dog tags, flak jackets, car plugs, cigarettes, insect repellent, letters, can openers, C-rations, jungle boots, maps, medical supplies, and explosives” (O’Brien 1). in order to give the reader a great insight into what exactly these young men had carried while they were fighting in
“The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien is a non fiction body of fiction writing. While names, characters and situations are imaginary, the circumstances encountered by the people represented in the war depicted are very much real.There is an intriguing story line beneath yet another story that is being told and with each sentence the more it resonates. There is the story of unrequited love, unabashed bravery, and unfathomable pain. Throughout all of this turmoil and what is the very essence of discomfort, the story moves forward and the reader is compelled to follow. In relating the layers of stories wrapped into the writing O’Brien masterfully uses the techniques of repetition, pattern and indirect style of writing to emphasize that no amount of physical weight compares to the mental and
Human beings carry many different things with them, both physical and metaphorical. In Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried,” he presents an exploration of the many burdens that people can carry. Throughout the story, he presents many detailed descriptions of the equipment and tangible things that the characters carry with them to help them survive their ordeal physically. O’Brien also describes the various ‘things’ that the men carry both physically and emotionally to help them deal with the mental and emotional stress of war. O’Brien also details the additional ‘things’ that the men pick up over the course of their experiences, both physical and mental/emotional. Through the metaphor of carrying objects, the descriptions of the items and
In The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien highlights the terror that the soldiers feel through the tangible and intangible things that they carry in order to demonstrate how fear weighs on people, paralyzing them and keeping them silent.
Tim O’Brien’s, The Things they Carried is a riveting tale of struggle and sacrifice, self indulgence and self pity, and the intrapersonal battles that reeked havoc on even the most battle tested soldiers. O’Brien is able to express these ideas through eloquent writing and descriptive language that makes the reader feel as if he were there. The struggle to avoid cowardice is a prevailing idea in all of O’Brien’s stories.
The physical burden of going to be war can be seen described clearly by both Turnipseed and O’Brien, carrying equipment from heavy rifles, flak jackets, helmets and ammunition. The way in which O’Brien describes this equipment is not by function, but by the physical weight, eight ounces for a grenade, twelve for a fully loaded magazine, showing very clearly the physical weight and burden in which soldiers must deal with on a daily basis while at war. However much
The book The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien presents various stories alike in that they contribute to the book’s intention that war is never a good thing. The ninth chapter, Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong, focuses on war’s ability to desensitize and dehumanize people, rendering even loved ones foreign. The use of symbolism, irony, and imagery help to develop this chapter, and serve to further its contribution to the book’s purpose as a whole.
With over two million Americans serving in the Vietnam war there's well over two million breath taking war stories. The Things They Carried is a quick, inexpensive, powerful read writen by Tim O'brian and published by Houghton Mufflin. I would reccommend this book to anyone with enough time to read a meer 233 pages for only $15.95 at Barnes and Nobel. If you're debating whether or not to read this book, and believe me you wouldn't regret it, continue reading to learn more about this rousing book.
Tim O’Brien’s story “The Things They Carried” explains a story about a Vietnam soldier’s, and what they kept dear to them. O’Brien keeps the story by listing the different things that the men carried on them giving you a visual image and even an idea of the weight that the objects are. What’s so symbolic about this story that O’Brien has given the look on how soldiers even in war are still just like everyone else. They have feelings make mistakes even if they have a lot of responsibilities, and their mistakes can have a deep impact on them.
Soldiers at war have to deal with many different types of societal pressures and mental stress along with the fact that they are in a war zone. As members of the military, there are people that support you and what you are doing, and some that do not support it. O’Brien uses metaphors of weight being “carried”. He uses descriptions of the actual equipment that they have to carry to perform their specific job, along with the emotional stresses that weigh a person down, grinding away at their mental strength day in and day out. O’Brien makes lists letting the reader know that each character has an immense load of equipment to carry with them. These lists really connect the
I looked out the window as the rain droplets slowly started falling from the sky. Clouds- grey ones in fact- started pouring into the sky, dimming the sun. I turned my gaze towards my clock, reading 15:00. In about an hour, there was a scheduled meeting with O’Brien that was going to take place.