The Things They Carried By Tim O ' Brien

1351 Words6 Pages
In “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien one is subjected to the in workings of a soldiers mind during the Vietnam War. Although on the surface it may seem just a story of what soldiers carried with them throughout the war, tangible or not, a deeper understanding of what these men faced shines through. As a veteran of the Vietnam war O’Brien has insight that many will never know except through his many writings. His experience throughout the war was seen to shape his stories and “The Things They Carried” is no different. In this story one finds a comparison between the material and immaterial baggage accompanying the soldiers, the soldiers motivation due to their fellow soldier, the uncaring attitude that the war has imparted on the…show more content…
It begs the question of whether Cross is truly living in Vietnam or in his own mind to escape the horrors of war and return to his years as a young boy falling in love back home. The remembrance of times less filled with the worry of death around every corner and instead filled with the pleasures of every day life so often looked over by those in a position less terrible than his own. Although this is without a doubt the easiest and most prevalent theme hinted at throughout the story it is also one of the most important. “Several of O 'Brien 's novels deal much less directly with Vietnam, yet the war experience continues to arise in various ways, and with one persistent theme: how the human imagination, capable of manifold transformations, deals with it, spins it, or provides emotional release from it. (Jack Smith)” This quote describes how this immaterial baggage provides the “release” from the dark captivity the mind is kept in during war to a simpler and more enjoyable time in ones life. For every ounce each man carried they carried that same weight in their minds. In war teamwork is paramount, and without it one may not find the motivation to carry on. “They were afraid of dying but they were even more afraid to show it. (O’Brien 109” Each man carried the weight of the man next to him. Never
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