The Things They Carried By Tim O ' Brien

1981 Words8 Pages
In The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien seems to be a simple story about the items a platoon of soldiers carried while they were in the Vietnam war. But the story actually centers around the conflict, guilt, escape, acceptance, and responsibility of all the platoon soldiers throughout their journey in the Vietnam war. After reading the first story the reader becomes aware of the significance of the title of the book. O’Brien throughout the story uses symbolism by listing all the items that each soldier carried as they struggled through the war. By listing each item, O’Brien highlights the burden that each man carries, not only physically but emotionally as well. Also, by listing particularly each personal items, O’Brien is in some ways…show more content…
They are a good luck charm from his girlfriend back home. Henry claims that the pantyhose bring him good memories. He sleeps with them like a security blanket and they 'keep him safe. ' While the stockings suggest female intimacy, which the soldiers no longer experience, they also suggest mystery. O 'Brien and the other soldiers are bewildered about the effects the garment has on Henry. They conclude that the stockings are 'magic. ' The stockings, thus, convey the mystique of the female sex, which has become increasingly foreign to the men in the platoon.
The puppy and baby water buffalo symbolize innocence and purity. In the beginning, O 'Brien recalls when a fellow soldier, Azar, strapped a puppy to a mine and squeezed the firing device. Azar rejoices in the animal 's violent death because it gives him a sense of control over his own circumstances. Later, Rat Kiley shoots a water buffalo to avenge the death of their friend, Curt Lemon. O 'Brien narrates how the animal is completely helpless against Rat 's aggression. This scene reinforces how the soldiers in the platoon have lost their sense of humanity after witnessing the brutal horrors of war. The animals remind the men of their childhood innocence which they can never recover.
Mark Fossie’s girlfriend symbolizes everything good about the United State of America. With her pink sweater and culottes, she is the All-American girl. The chapter “Sweetheart of Song Tra Bong” examines the
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