Compare & Contrast

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In And After The War

Young men who are sent to a war learn the reality in a very harsh and brutal way. Both the stories, ‘The Red Convertible’ and ‘The Things They Carried’ portray the life of a young soldier and how he psychologically gets affected from all the things he had seen in the war. Tim O’Brien’s ‘The Things They Carried,’ is more specific on the experiences of a soldier during a war where as Karen Louise Erdrich focuses more on describing the post war traumatic stress in her short story ‘The Red Convertible’. One thing similar in both the narrations is the Vietnam War and its consequences on the soldiers. From the background of both the authors it’s easy to conclude that Tim O’Brien being a war veteran emphasizes more on the war scenes where as Louise Erdrich focuses mainly on the life inside the reservations, which makes sense as she has a Native American ancestry.

In both the stories authors show & compare the human emotions of a soldier before and after he gets drafted into a war. In ‘The Things They Carried,’ the story revolves around a twenty two year old First Lieutenant Jimmy Cross, a fresh graduate from New Jersey who is drafted and sent into the Vietnam War. Tim O’Brien does a true justice to the title of the story and emphasizes on the physical strength of the soldiers, and how it gets tear down with all the situations they have been put through. At one point of the story he describes soldiers carrying mementos and objects for good luck superstitiously. For an instance, Dave Jensen one of the soldiers carried a rabbit’s foot and Norman Bowker carried a thumb that had been presented to him as a gift from a soldier of the same platoon, Mitchell Sanders. He also successfully portrays the confused state of mind of a soldier, during the conversation between Henry Dobbins and Mitchell Sanders about the reason behind Sanders cutting off a thumb from a dead corpse of a fifteen or sixteen year old boy. Mitchell tries to make Henry...
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