Essay about Tim O'Brien's the Things They Carried

1558 WordsOct 14, 19997 Pages
Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried is not a novel about the Vietnam War. It is a story about the soldiers and their experiences and emotions that are brought about from the war. O'Brien makes several statements about war through these dynamic characters. He shows the violent nature of soldiers under the pressures of war, he makes an effective antiwar statement, and he comments on the reversal of a social deviation into the norm. By skillfully employing the stylistic technique of specific, conscious detail selection and utilizing connotative diction, O'Brien thoroughly and convincingly makes each point. The violent nature that the soldiers acquired during their tour in Vietnam is one of O'Brien's predominant themes…show more content…
The whole concept is metaphoric, based on the connotations of key words; nevertheless, it is extremely effective in conveying O'Brien's theme. O'Brien makes a valid, effective antiwar statement in The Things They Carried. The details he includes give the reader insight into his opinions concerning the Vietnam War and the draft that was used to accumulate soldiers for the war. While thinking of escaping to Canada, he says: "I was drafted to fight a war I hated. . .The American war seemed to me wrong"(44). O'Brien feels that U.S. involvement in Vietnamese affairs was unnecessary and wasteful. He includes an account of his plan to leave the country because he did not want to risk losing his life for a cause he did not believe in. Here O'Brien shows the level of contempt felt towards the war; draft dodging is dangerous. He was not a radical antiwar enthusiast, however, for he takes "only a modest stand against the war"(44). While not condoning the fighting, he does not protest the war except for minimally, peacefully, and privately doing so. His dissatisfaction with the drafting process is included in his statement, "I was a liberal, for Christ's sake: if they needed fresh bodies, why not draft some back-to-the-stone-age-hawk?"(44). O'Brien's point of drafting only those who approve involvement in the war is clearly made while his political standpoint is simultaneously revealed. The
Open Document