The Things They Carried

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Tim O’Brien is a very gifted author, but he is also a veteran of the Vietnam War and fought with the United States in that controversial war. Tim O’Brien was drafted into the Vietnam War in 1968. He served as an infantryman, and obtained the rank of sergeant and won a Purple Heart after being wounded by shrapnel. He was discharged from the Vietnam War in 1970. I believe that O’Brien’s own images and past experiences he encountered in the Vietnam War gave him inspiration to write the story “The Things They Carried.” O’Brien tells the story in third person narrative form about Lt. Jimmy Cross and his platoon of young American men in the Vietnam War. In “The Things They Carried” we can see differences and similarities between the characters by the things they hold close to them. In this critical review I would like to critique Tim O’Brien’s characterization. O’Brien’s expression towards each character is very unique because not one of them is exactly alike. They all differ in age and ethnicity, and have different views on the Vietnam War. They bear the weight of their country on their backs, but they also have different emotions weighing on their hearts. “The Things We Carried” takes in Vietnam during the Vietnam War. First Lieutenant Jimmy Cross and his platoon are in the fields of Vietnam. His platoon includes: Mitchell Sanders (Radio Telephone Operator), Rat Kiley (Medic), Henry Dobbins (Machine Gunner), Kiowa, Norman Bowker, Ted

Lavender, Dave Jensen, Lee Strunk, and a few other soldiers that O’Brien doesn’t name in the story. The platoon would follow Lieutenant Jimmy Cross across the hills, valleys, swamps, rivers, mountains, and everything else you could imagine. Each soldier carried at least twenty pounds of supplies, weapons, and rations on their backs. They would walk all day, and all night. They didn’t even know where they were going or where they would stop. The things they carried were largely determined by necessity. Tim O’Brien...
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