War And Trauma In Tim O’Brien’S “The Things They Carried”.

1525 WordsApr 27, 20177 Pages
War and Trauma in Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried” Often in literature, we find ourselves reading stories with layers upon layers of meanings found in them. Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried” is no exception to this idea. O’Brien tells his story in such a way that as we read the complex descriptions of what the characters are experiencing, the line between fiction and reality are often blurred. This helps further advance our understanding of the issue Tim O’Brien is trying to portray. Throughout the duration of the novel, O’Brien takes a deep, personal look at the various and profound effects war has on a man thorough the eyes of a number of different characters. These characters describe the many ways soldiers carry the…show more content…
The simple idea of Vietnam itself causes Jensen to panic. He believes that everyone is his enemy, and the distinction between who is on his side and who isn’t disappears, causing him to lose all sense of security and trust. In a way, all of the characters share the feeling of false security, even though it is much more apparent in a select few. Regardless, the soldiers all show signs of weakness at points throughout the novel. But is it really even weakness at all? The horrors of war, the constant fear and isolation from all you’ve ever known previously stacks up to the point where it’s impossible to stay “strong”. After all, it was Vietnam, where the overwhelming ambiguity of it all wreaks havoc on the characters minds. The uncertainty of war itself has a major impact on the characters throughout the novel. The boundaries between right and wrong are repeatedly broken, causing the characters to lose the basic morals they lived by before being sent to war. O’Brien describes the lack of clarity that comes with war through his characters actions. The soldiers often find temporary justification of the trauma they experience through more pain, such as when Rat Kiley deals with his grief and pain after losing his best friend Curt Lemon by repeatedly shooting a baby water buffalo. At any other time, we can assume
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