The Things They Carried

Essay by ajb_savannahCollege, UndergraduateB-, September 2014

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Running Header: The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien 1

The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien

ENG 1300 W5A2

Andrea Carr

South University Online

The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien

"The Things They Carried" is one of several short stories written by Tim O'Brien that brilliantly portrays a squad of young American soldiers in the Vietnam War. Each of the short stories builds on the last but in The Things They Carried the author places focus on how immature boys cope and their transformation into young men and responsible leaders. O'Brien is not a character in the story but the fact that he is fluent with military lingo and conveys great passion and a working knowledge of the military suggests that he was a soldier. He tells his war story of soldiers' experiences with obsession, duty, regret, burden, comradely and maturing. He achieves this by describing every facet of the items they carried with great accuracy and detail.

The things they carried as they are depicted in the story represent literal things, emotional things, psychological things and symbolic things all weighing in at different levels of importance. There were physical as well as emotional things they carried on their missions, both were equally burdensome. O'Brien states that during missions many of these items were discarded no regardless of their importance to achieve a higher level of comfort. The author further states that the choppers would effortlessly replace the discarded items. In research conducted by Michael Tavel Clarke he implies that this behavior is immature, irresponsible and wasteful. Clarke also points out the blatant transformation of Cross into a disciplined leader.

The things they carried identified them by rank and military occupation specialty. While some of the physical items seem silly to many it didn't make them...