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Wounds Endured in The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien

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Tim O’Brien brings the Vietnam War back to life in The Things They Carried (1990) and elucidates the wounds suffered by soldiers during and after the war. The three main characters in this novel that exemplify the physical, social, and emotional wounds are Tim O’Brien, Norman Bowker, and Mark Fossie. These men go through immense pain both during and after the war, which is not easy to heal. During the war, many soldiers get injured, incapacitated, and/or killed; thus physical wounds are something that every soldier accepts both mentally and physically. Tim O’Brien is shot twice during the war. The first time he is shot, the medic Rat risks his life to help Tim, but when he was shot the second time the new medic Jorgenson is too afraid to move, and Tim nearly dies from shock. This injury has a big impact on Tim, and he is not only physically wounded but also psychologically as he was traumatized from the incident. Tim suffers a lot from his wound. For example, he says that “a couple of weeks later my ass started to rot away. You could actually peel off chunks of skin with your fingernail” (190) but the worst part for him is the shame. Tim O’Brien explains that “Pride isn't the right word. I don't know the right word. All I know is, you shouldn't feel embarrassed. Humiliation shouldn't be part of it” (191) and this is why he wants to take revenge of Jorgenson. Although Tim overcomes the physical wound, he can’t let go of the emotional wounds
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