"The things they caried" by Tim O'Brien.

Essay by jamiejUniversity, Bachelor's July 2003

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November 14, 2002

The Things They Carried

Tim O'Brien's fiction The Things They Carried creates a nostalgic feeling to the reader. He loads the writing with intricate details of the descriptions of the things these soldiers carried and for the various purposes. However, I'm given the impression that The author merely used the fact that these men were soldiers at the brink of death to magnify the common emotions of almost every individual. The story is broken up into sections, where the author spends a significant amount of time on the things these soldiers carry based on necessity, rank, and mission.

It is interesting how the author uses the necessity of soldier at war to reiterate the importance of emotional security. O'Brien alternates between narrative passages and simple descriptions of the items that the soldiers are carrying. This fragmentation brings focus to the things the men are carrying, both tangible and intangible.

Because along with the necessities like pocket knives, and can openers, some of the more comfortable needs included things like gum, candy, cigarettes, comic books, condoms, dope, pictures, letters, and the bible.

Rank was another category that deemed its own things to carry, I guess civilians would look at it as status or job. The author's use of rank to place each mans purpose to the platoon according to hierarchy, this determined what each man would carry. "The all carried all they could bear, and then some, including a silent awe for the terrible power of the things they carried."

Mission was the final play on the military aspect of the story. Each soldier's mission varied according to purpose, therefore varying tools. "...In some respects, though not many, the waiting was worse than the tunnel itself. Imagination was a killer."

One thing O'Brien does frequently in...