The Things They Carried

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  • Topic: Army, Vietnam War, Born on the Fourth of July
  • Pages : 3 (1016 words )
  • Download(s) : 356
  • Published : March 25, 2007
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The text, ‘The Things They Carried', is an excellent example which reveals how individuals are changed for the worse through their first hand experience of war. Following the lives of the men both during and after the war in a series of short stories, the impact of the war is accurately portrayed, and provides a rare insight into the guilt stricken minds of soldiers. ‘The Things They Carried' shows the impact of the war in its many forms: the suicide of an ex-soldier upon his return home; the lessening sanity of a medic as the constant death surrounds him; the trauma and guilt of all the soldiers after seeing their friends die, and feeling as if they could have saved them; and the deaths of the soldiers, the most negative impact a war could have.

The suicide of Norman Bowker (‘Notes' pg 155 – 159) was a result of the impact the Vietnam War had on his emotional wellbeing. His willingness to take his own life as a result of the life shattering experiences he had endured during the war is an excellent example of how war can impact on a person's life. After returning home from the war and those death filled jungles, nothing feels ‘…real or tangible…' in comparison. Daily chores are meaningless compared to the fight for survival that had been a soldiers total reality beforehand. Once the threat is removed the need to survive, the continuing will for existence that had been everything back in Vietnam suddenly loses its meaning once the threat is taken away. The effects of the war don't just stop when the war finishes, they continue to traumatise their victims in their homecoming, being congratulated by ‘…a bunch of patriotic idiots who don't know jack about what it feels like to kill people or get shot at…' A Vietnam war veteran's isolation would have been enough to drive him to insanity, if the years of watching his friends get brutally murdered hadn't already done so. Not only were the soldiers isolated from those who had stayed home, they were also isolated from...
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