Lions for Lambs and the Things They Carried Analysis

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  • Topic: Robert Redford, Conscription in the United States, 2007 in film
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Lions for Lambs and TTTC Essay

War novels can be one of two things: vivid accounts and harrowing tales, or instructional accounts and heart wrenching tales. Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried is without a doubt an exemplar of the latter. In parallel with O’Brien’s book, philanthropist Robert Redford directs and produces his film Lions for Lambs to this very same end. Lions for Lambs features a similar brand of invocative, yet gravely reformative storyline. As a result of these similarities of purpose, both the film by Redford and the novel by O’Brien explore similar aspects of war and people, and advise (subtlety) identical messages. Redford and O’Brien seem to be in agreement that actions speak to a person’s character louder than words, being a “lamb” during war is taking the path of least resistance, and the truly valorous “lions” meet their demise for the rest of the “lambs” in society.

The events surrounding Tim and Bobby Jorgenson reflect that actions speak to the soul louder than words. Jorgenson’s failure to assist Tim in his time of greatest need, and Tim’s resulting personal struggles, conclude in a total abhorrence of Jorgenson by O’Brien. When Jorgenson attempts to make up for his actions with mere words of apology, Tim is not consoled. It could be argued that Jorgenson’s words caused Tim to feel as though he “couldn’t hate Jorgenson anymore.” In truth, it was Bobby’s inaction that influenced Tim so that he could no longer demonize his enemy. Eventually, Tim and Bobby make peace when Bobby helps Tim recover from shock induced by Azar, which serves as the most powerful apologetic gesture to Tim and thereby cementing the theme that actions are stronger than words. Lions for Lambs also emphasizes this when the two college students enlist in the army, to avoid having their ideals dismissed as empty statements. Not only that, the conversation the reporter has with the senator, by drawing out the military’s tendency to promise...
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