The Things They Carried

1417 Words Apr 21st, 2008 6 Pages
Spring Book Review In The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien tells the tale of not about war, but rather about war’s effect on one’s mentality. Ultimately, this novel is built on a foundation of the items that the soldiers of the Vietnam War carried. Whether it was the way Jimmy Cross uses the pebble to escape from his duties as a soldier or when Norman Bowker realizes that courage comes form within, not from receiving a Silver Star; O’Brien uses baggage as a symbol throughout the book to teach that war does in fact change people. These possessions were not just materialistic, they made up the soldiers’ attributes, made up the soldiers’ persona and made up the soldier. In the beginning of the story we are introduced to Lieutenant …show more content…
It makes things vivid. When you’re afraid, really afraid, you see things you never saw before, you pay attention to the world. You make close friends. You become part of a tribe and you share the same blood – you give it together, you take it together.” (O’Brien, 220)
An underlying of this book is the value of friendship. The bond that these men formed with each other in the heat of battle is incomprehensible to those who have not experienced warfare for themselves. It helped them to survive, exclude anyone who was outside their group, and help the men of Alpha Company to cope with the war after they returned to the United States. Without the bonds of friendship, none of the men of Alpha Company would have survived mentally or physically the strains and trauma of the Vietnam War.
The Things They Carried takes place during the late 1960s and 1980s. The end of the play is set in Massachusetts, while the rest of the book focuses on Vietnam. The setting is a significant part of the story because it is during the Vietnam War and is central to the story. This aspect of the novel is what makes it significant to American history. In The Things They Carried, it brought to the attention of readers what the soldiers carried with them to shield off illness, stay warm, protect their comrades, to kill the enemy’s soldiers and to remember their loved ones at home. For example Kiowa always took along his New Testament and a pair of moccasins for silence. Cross would
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