The Things They Carried Response

1782 Words8 Pages
Excerpt from Novel
“They carried the soldier’s greatest fear which was the fear of blushing. Men killed and died, because they were embarrassed not to. It was what had brought them to war in the first place, nothing positive, no dreams of glory or honor, just to avoid blush of dishonor. They died so as not to die of embarrassment.” (O’Brien pg. 20)

Chapter: The Things They Carried.

This quote can help to convey the recurring theme of physical and emotional burdens, along with the psychological burdens that were faced after the war. Although the characters in the book had many pieces of equipment and personal items to haul on their travels, they also had to carry their emotions. Many, if not all, of the men were holding fear,
…show more content…
I was ashamed of my conscience, ashamed to be doing the right thing.” (O’Brien pg 49)

Chapter: On the Rainy River
With this part of the story, O’Brien is able to inject the theme of shame motivating the characters in the book. This chapter is about how the author, who is also the narrator, is drafted for the war. He runs away to the border between Canada and the United States, he stays in a motel with an old man for about a week and finds that he should go to war for his country. In the beginning it was about shame, he didn’t want to look like a coward because in truth he was scared. He was afraid to face the pressures of war, the humiliation and the fact of losing “everything”. This man was an average person who lived an average life with no problems, until he got the notice about the war, which caused the shame and fear of being seen as a bad person to come out.
“The dentist couldn’t find any problem, but Lemon kept insisting, so the man finally shrugged and shot in the Novocain and yanked out a perfectly good tooth. There was some pain, no doubt, but in the morning Curt Lemon was all smiles.” (O’Brien pg. 84)

Chapter: The Dentist
This quote helps O’Brien to portray the theme of motivation by shame. Curt Lemon fainted in a scene before the last one where he got a good tooth pulled out. He was afraid of the dentist that was on sight, and because of this he was embarrassed because he fainted. He didn’t want to face the other guys because he knew that they
Get Access