Essay on the short story the things they carried

The things they carried” Tim O Brien Short story Essay Sample
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  1. The Things They Carried Essays | GradeSaver
  2. The Things They Carried Essays
  3. The things they carried” Tim O Brien Short story
  4. Essays on The Things They Carried

You know that all we are saying is "Give Peace a Chance. What is it Good For? But what if the experience of war was a little more nuanced than that? What if the most hellish thing about being an American soldier in the Vietnam War was that it wasn't always completely hellish? What if the truth is more slippery than most people can grasp? What if it's so slippery, in fact, that it becomes These musings might sound kind of hippie-dippie to you another relic from the age of the flower children, right?

In Tim O'Brien's book of short stories, these questions are posed in the middle of the muck, blood, and guts of the battlefield—as well as from his writing desk twenty years later.


  1. Essay on The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien.
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The Things They Carried is a set of connected short pieces that tell the stories of the men of the Alpha Company foot soldiers in Vietnam before, during, and after the Vietnam War. And these stories deal with with the surreal and ambiguous nature of this war, the inadequacy of plain facts in communicating certain essential truths, and the alienation of the Vietnam War vet.

Tim O'Brien served in Vietnam as a foot soldier from to He's well-known as pretty much the writer who tackles the Vietnam War from an American soldier's perspective: If you Google "Vietnam War books," O'Brien probably pops up first. And The Things They Carried is his most famous work.

Before you read it, we want you to look at something, though. Turn to the title page. What does it say right after the title, and right before the author's name? That's right: "a work of fiction. Nope, O'Brien won't feed you pithy sentiments like "War is hell. The Vietnam War: It's a tough pill to swallow. Maybe you're sick to death of hearing yet another Doors' song in yet another Vietnam War-era movie Or maybe you just feel alienated by the subject matter.

You can't really comprehend it.

The Things They Carried Essays | GradeSaver

You want to read something that speaks to you. The Things They Carried is about war, sure. But, first and foremost, it's about a dude named Tim O'Brien struggling with two super-universal issues: communication and memory. Tim O'Brien saw some horrific stuff, and now he's trying to communicate with a wider audience. As first, people supported the war and the idea of stopping communism, but as more and more soldiers got killed, the number of protests increased.

Each of the men carries a few items of sentimental value that carries the emotional burdens they have. He believes his love for Martha is distracting. When Ted Lavender died, Lieutenant Cross suffered from shame and self-hatred, as he felt because he loved Martha more than his men, he did not take care of his men, causing Lavender to die.

The Things They Carried Essays

All the men have the emotional fear of dying, but the greater fear of showing fear, and their actions and their additional weapons characterize this. For example, Lee Strunk carries a slingshot, Mitchell Sanders carries brass knuckles, etc.

The Things They Carried Essay Tim Grant

These men had to suffer the scrutiny of each other, so they neither show fear, nor show that they cared of dying. Cowardice was the heaviest burden the men suffered, because they yearned to be cowardly. Physically, each of the men carries different diseases and parasites with them.

The things they carried” Tim O Brien Short story

This emphasizes how the men are in physical dangers, not just from the war, but health wise as well. But along with that, is a metaphor of the emotional suffering of watching people die, the fear of dying themselves, and the responsibilities they have over the others. Throughout the entire story, we see a constant mention of the numerous and heavy things that these men carry, but we have the impression that these items are weightless compared to the emotions these men experience and live with. The most traumatizing experience these men have is the lost of innocence each of them experience.

Essays on The Things They Carried

He could not burn the blame, but he burned away his innocence. He lost his innocence when he realized he had to take on full responsibility if he were to take care of his men. He was innocent to think the war was over for him because he was in love, however his innocence was lost when he realized he wanted to be part of the war and return to combat, because peace hurt, and he wanted to hurt peace back.

All the men were innocent in a sense that they thought the war would be fast and rewarding, however, the war took away their innocence when they realized how harsh it is and how aimless the fighting were. Men were dying for no reason, and along with it, they gave up their innocence with it. Often times, the men have a great desire to run away from the war. Yet they are conflicted to do so, as it would be a show of cowardice and they could be viewed as a traitor from the country.