Reaction to "The Things They Carried" by Tim O'Brien

1706 Words7 Pages
In The Things They Carried, Tim O 'Brien uses a variety of stories to explain the life experiences that he and many of his fellow soldiers endured during a single year in Vietnam. He tells these stories in a way that we can connect to these experiences. We never spent time in Vietnam, but O 'Brien wants us to feel like we were there. O 'Brien uses what he calls "story-truth" to write these stories. The outcome or the people may be different but the feeling is real; that 's the truth in the story, the feeling. He wants us to feel what he felt, see what he saw. He doesn 't just tell us what was happening exactly; he tells a fictional story that conveys the same emotion. He plays with the truth, that 's the reason why this book is a work of…show more content…
He didn 't "kill" the man because he was in danger; he did it because he was scared. He was a coward. He tells us in the chapter "Ambush" that he 'was in no real peril ' and 'the young man would 've passed him by '. He knew that he wasn 't in danger but he "killed" the man anyway because that 's what you were supposed to do in war; you were supposed to kill. He wasn 't being brave; he was giving into the idea of war. He was doing something that he didn 't believe in. The Vietnam War had a life changing effect on the soldiers, including O 'Brien. They came into the war as boys as young as seventeen and left either in body bags made of their own poncho or they came out alive. But were they ever really alive? No, they had their innocence ripped out. They weren 't young boys anymore. Their young selves were killed out in that jungle and all that was left was a carcass of gruesome memories of the tragedy of war, the deaths of their fellow soldiers. They changed as people. O 'Brien came into the war as a young man against war. A young soul believing that the Vietnam War was wrong and there was no need for fighting or killing. However, toward the end of the book he tells us the story of how he got revenge on a fellow soldier. This soldier, while in the middle of war, took too long in treating O 'Brien for a bullet wound and also should have treated him for shock. O 'Brien almost dies on the field but fortunately
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