Contradictions of War in the Things They Carried/Real Life

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Alison Schiffner
Contradictions of war
10/20/12

To most people war is a way that we settle disputes with other nations, but they don’t fully understand the intricate details that go along with it. Its not just about the guns, gernades and tanks, it brings out different aspects of soldiers personalities and I think should be more focused on the hardships that individual and groups of soldiers endure. The horrific situations that soldiers undergo can cause different types of actions that they would take because war is contradictory. Soldiers experience unimaginable stress that can make them appear weak or strong. Which is the biggest contradiction that war presents; war makes you strong and war makes you weak. There are numerous examples which can easily be found in the book The things they carried by Tim O’brien. Two stories that demonstrate it best are “the man I killed” and “speaking of courage.” Looking back through history also farther promotes the idea, like when America created the atomic bomb, and started a draft. Tim O’brian was a soldier in the **** he was young and didn’t want to go to war, but he had to. During his term he killed a young vietnemese soldier, even though that’s what he was sent there to do, his kind heart couldn’t forgive himself for doing something so terrible. His gut mistrict to throw the grenade gave him strength, because throwing something at someone with the intent to kill someone is something that majority of people will not be able to follow through with. This burst of courage gave him the strength to save his life. But after he killed him and the adrenalin thinned out in his veins he became weak. This is displayed by the dialogue, which on his part was entirely absent. Kiowa spent six hours telling him he did the right thing and they needed to move out, but Tim sat there staring at the body unresponsive. It shows that the sight of a dead body alone was too much for him to handle. To his platoon he appeared inadequit....
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