Essay on The Things They Carried

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The Things They Carried The Things They Carried, by Tim O'Brien, is a generalization of his own experiences in Vietnam although the story itself is a work of fiction there is still much to be learned from it. Through the actions of soldiers in The Things They Carried we can begin to explore the effect war has on the human condition and the toll it plays on their minds. Some of the themes in the book, The Things They Carried, are bravery and what true bravery is, truth and how the manipulation of truth is sometimes necessary and how truth can be molded or distorted through memory, and lastly, the demoralizing effects of war on the human condition. These themes are all played out through the actions of the main character, Lieutenant…show more content…
"Awkwardly, the men would reassemble themselves, first in private, then in groups, becoming soldiers again. They would repair the leaks in their eyes... light cigarettes, try to smile, clear their throats and spit and begin cleaning their weapons."(O'Brien 860). From this passage we see how the men hid their feelings from each other. Often when coming close to death the men defuse the tension by joking, saying things like "that's sure as hell was close" or "I almost shit my paints"(O'Brien 860) and pretend like the war doesn't bother them. All the solders are trying to portray a stereotypical image of a "tough guy" because that's what they have been culturally conditioned to think. When in fact bravery is the ability to stand up for what you believe in despite what others think. For instance, it takes a lot more courage to allow yourself to cry in front of your peers. A coward hides his emotions because he's afraid of what others might think. Jim also struggles with the nature of truth and feels that events can become more real in a story than in reality, as if by turning the memory into a story makes it more concrete and committed to one version. And in the process of telling the story all the men can come to an agreement of what happened and add to it. Sometimes things happen so fast in life that they don't really happen until you go over them in your mind and set down the facts and details, finalizing the version in your mind of what happened. And
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