The Things They Carried Literary Analysis

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorCollege, Undergraduate February 2008

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In Tim O?Brien?s The Things They Carried, O?Brien uses a series of vignettes to tell about his times during the Vietnam War. Using this style, there was not a continuous plot because every chapter had a new plot. This made the book very hard to read. In this essay, I will use some example chapters such as ?The Dentist? and ?The Ghost Soldiers? to explore key parts of the book such as the changing plot, the lack of characterization, and O?Brien?s interesting.

This book was something that I have never seen before, a collection of short stories about one main idea. As I read this book, I noticed that the author was trying to tell a lot of different stories about the main idea to get his point across. O?Brien wanted to show whoever read his book that the Vietnam War was a horrible place that did horrible things to people.

By making a book with a bunch of short stories, he could show how the war affected people differently. For instance, in the chapter called ?The Dentist,? O?Brien tells a story about a young man named Curt Lemon. Curt Lemon was the kind of guy that was so worried about his reputation that he would do anything to up-hold it. So when the platoon was stationed at an area of operations (AO) that over looked the South China Sea and did not have anything to do, the ?higher ups? called in a military dentist to do check ups on everyone. Apparently, Curt Lemon was terrified of the dentist, so when it was his turn, he walked in to the tent and fainted before the man even touched him. Curt could not deal with the embarrassment, so later that night, he crept down to the tent and told...