The Things They Carried - Tim O'Brien STUDY NOTES about "In The Field" - includes details about the plot, characters, themes, key quotes and links to other stories

Essay by liquid_frog April 2004

download word file, 2 pages 2.3

Downloaded 130 times

In The Field


*The soldiers search for the body of Kiowa in the "shit field."

*Jimmy Cross blames himself, wonders where he went wrong and writes a letter in his head to Kiowa's father.

*A young soldier, presumably Tim though un-named, searches for the picture of his ex-girlfriend.

*Kiowa is found and proves very difficult to dig out on the field.


Jimmy Cross: - not a good leader -> he just followed orders and camped in the field when he could have moved the company to higher, and safer, ground.

- cannot stick to his resolutions -> at the beginning of the chapter he is motivated by Kiowa's death to start being a better Lieutenant but by the end of the chapter he is day-dreaming again.

- holds the blame of Kiowa's death and excepts it "My own fault..." (168)

- doesn't want the responsibility given to him.

"He had never wanted it." (167)

- lacks motivation in his duties until something bad happens.


The cost of war: - Kiowa was killed.

- Tim lost his girlfriend (and her photo.)

The nature of war: - made the men happy that they were alive and that some one else was dead instead of them.

Burdens: - the burden of blame -> Jimmy and Tim blame themselves for Kiowa's death. -> Mitchell Sander's blames Jimmy. -> Norman Bowker blamed no-one.

- the burden of responsibility -> Jimmy carries this although he doesn't want to.

- the burden of guilt -> Azar felt guilty when he saw Kiowa's body -> Jimmy felt guilty for all of the events that led to Kiowa's death. -> Tim felt guilty for flashing his torch; he likened it to murder.

Coping: - Azar copes with Kiowa's death by making jokes (black humour.) Eg: "Wasted...