The Things They Carried Essay

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The text, ‘The Things They Carried', is an excellent example which reveals how individuals are changed for the worse through their first hand experience of war. Following the lives of the men both during and after the war in a series of short stories, the impact of the war is accurately portrayed, and provides a rare insight into the guilt stricken minds of soldiers. ‘The Things They Carried' shows the impact of the war in its many forms: the suicide of an ex-soldier upon his return home; the lessening sanity of a medic as the constant death surrounds him; the trauma and guilt of all the soldiers after seeing their friends die, and feeling as if they could have saved them; and the deaths of the soldiers, the most negative impact a war…show more content…
The wars traumatising images and effects were enough to drive anyone crazy. The soldiers didn't even have to have gone home to begin to feel the effects of the war. Rat Kiley, a young medic in Vietnam started to feel the effects right then and there, and it resulted in him shooting himself in order to escape the war. The conditions of the war, the long night time treks, the silence, broken only by the sounds of ghosts, the constant darkness. It could drive anyone crazy. The constant death too, ‘… too many body bags… too much gore…'. Sometimes this paranoia-based insanity would embody itself in the form of something randomly chosen yet relevant, something for the person to obsess about in order to temporarily distance themselves from what was actually occurring around them. At times the obsessing would involve their immediate surrounds, like Rat Kiley who began to those around him as nothing more than bodies, and began to imagine how they would look without an arm, or a leg, or even ‘… what it would feel like to pick up the head and carry it over to a chopper and dump it in…'. It could even take form as self obsession, Rat Kiley began to envision his own death, parts of his own body being removed and eaten by the insects in Vietnam. Kiley's constant visions led to his self-harming in order to be taken away to Japan, some kind of a haven after the
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