The Things They Carried

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade November 2001

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The Vietnamese War was unlike any war the United States had ever been involved in. People were being drafted into it and many of them did not even know what the conflict was about. It was mainly a political conflict where the US strategically, based on political involvement, bombed handpicked locations. It was a war not supported by the American people but carried out to meet hidden agendas of politicians, and hidden by promises to South Vietnam to aid in their struggle.

Tim O'Brien's novel The Things They Carried is a novel set during the Vietnamese War. The author and narrator, Tim O'Brien was drafted into the war and survived to tell about it. He wrote this story to "bring back life"� to many who had died in the war, yet this is not entirely a true story. In fact, Tim O'Brien wrote this in a very unique style, one that conceals any truth among a great deal of fiction.

Several times during the novel, the narrator would state that the chapter he had told before the current one was not true, only to refer to it later as though it were true. He tells the story in a group of unrelated stories of things that did not necessarily happen, but are stories of how Tim O'Brien likes to remember what really did happen. He uses language that is true to the situation he happens to be talking about and describes very graphic images such as the graphic killing of a water buffalo that leaves nothing to the imagination. As little of the story is actually true, this is more "realistic"� to the reader than another war novel that delivers harsh facts; this is the way that Tim O'Brien, someone who lived through and saw the horrors of the...