The Things They Carried

Topics: Blame, Vietnam War, Guilt Pages: 2 (665 words) Published: May 21, 2006
Many traits of man¡¦s inner nature are revealed through war. In the novel The Things They Carried, the characters of this series of stories embody traits of soldiers in the Vietnam War. Through writing, the author, Tim O¡¦Brien, portrays his feelings as a Vietnam soldier through this novel. He describes the loss of three fellow soldiers, Ted Lavender, Curt Lemon, and Kiowa and depicts the guilt and blame these deaths evoke. Ted Lavender¡¦s death increased the intangible guilt the platoon carried. No one was anticipating death because the platoon was resting. The platoon was the on the verge of celebrating because they had just accomplished a very dangerous and life-risking mission. When Lavender was shot, there was a sense of shock that rippled through the platoon. All the soldiers had different ways of coping with his death. Kiowa would not stop talking about how he fell to the ground: quick and heavy. He coped by repeating the story until it was completely worn out. Unfortunately, Lieutenant Jimmy Cross took Lavender¡¦s death the hardest. He blamed himself because he felt he was wasting his thoughts on Martha, the girl he loved. Lieutenant Cross suffered guilt and unforgiveness because he knew that he should have been looking out for his men, instead of thinking about Martha. Another death that created a crater of grief on the platoon was Curt Lemon. This death was another silly accident, one that could have been completely avoided. Curt Lemon and Rat Kiley were best friends, and Lemon died when they were fooling around, and not thinking about the dangers of the war. Lemon died a very gruesome death and Rat Kiley had a very difficult time dealing with it. He could not bear to see his best friend in shreds and dangling in the trees. He ended up shooting a baby buffalo to death. This radiates a sense of anger, shock, and sadness, much like Ted Lavender¡¦s death. Rat Kiley must have felt angry, because he knew that it could have been avoided,...
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