The Things They Carried by Tim Obrien Dialectic Journal

Topics: Awards and decorations of the United States military, A Story Pages: 7 (3298 words) Published: November 6, 2012
The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien

1| Among the necessities or near-necessities were P-38 can openers, pocket knives, heat tabs, wristwatches, dog tags, mosquito repellent, chewing gum, candy, cigarettes, salt tablets, packets of Kool-Aid, lighters, matches, sewing kits, Military Payment Certificates, C rations, and two or three canteens of water. (pg. 2)| Most of these items I understand that they have to have them. There are a few though that I don’t think are a necessity or a near-necessity, like the candy or cigarettes. Those are two things that aren’t necessary in the war.| 2| As a first lieutenant and platoon leader, Jimmy Cross carried a compass, maps, code books, binoculars, and a .45-caliber pistol that weighed 2.9 pounds fully loaded. He carried a strobe light and the responsibility for the lives of his men. (pg. 5)| He carried a lot and the last sentence there just seems like foreshadowing. I’m now expecting something to happen to one of his men.| 3| As an RTO, Mitchell Sanders carried the PRC-25 radio, a killer, 26 pounds with its battery. (pg. 5)| I would hate to carry that around all the time.| 4| As a medic, Rat Kiley carried a canvas satchel filled with morphine and plasma and malaria tablets and surgical tape and comic books and all the things a medic must carry, including M&M’s for especially bad wounds, for a total weight of nearly 18 pounds. (pg. 5)| All of this stuff would be a pain to carry around also.| 5| Imagination was a killer. (pg. 10)| This is true, people always let their imagination get the best of them, and it causes them to experience the worst.| 6| Lieutenant Cross carried his good-luck pebble. Dave Jensen carried a rabbit’s foot. Norman Bowker, otherwise a very gentle person, carried a thumb that had been presented to him as a gift by Mitchell Sanders. (pg. 12)| This is disgusting; I don’t understand why some people carry around weird things like this. And it was a gift!?| 7| On the morning after Ted Lavender died, First Lieutenant Jimmy Cross crouched at the bottom of his foxhole and burned Martha’s letters. Then he burned the two photographs. (pg. 22)| I knew something was going to happen to one of Cross’s men. Cross was burning the letters and the pictures because when Ted died, Cross was thinking of Martha, and he felt responsible.| 8| At one point, I remember, we paused over a snapshot of Ted Lavender, and after a while Jimmy rubbed his eyes and said he’d never forgive himself for Lavender’s death. (pg. 26)| I don’t blame him because if I was in Jimmy’s position I probably wouldn’t forgive myself either.| We have met our narrator, Tim O’Brien. He talks about Jimmy Cross a lot. Jimmy is in love with a girl named Martha back home. Jimmy was thinking of her one day and while he was doing that, one of his men, Ted Lavender, was shot in the head. Jimmy feels responsible and said he will never forgive himself. O’Brien also talks of everything that people carried. Some things were necessary like water, food, and weapons while other things were just weird like a thumb. He says some of the near-necessities included candy, cigarettes, and Kool-Aid, but I don’t think those are things that you need.| 9| You take your material where you find it, which is in your life, at the intersection of past and present. (pg. 33)| This is true, when you write you usually write from experience, and if you aren’t there is really nothing there.| 10| And sometimes remembering will lead to a story, which makes it forever. (pg. 36)| I like this because a story is forever; they get passed down from generation to generation.| 11| Stories are for joining the past to the future. Stories are for those late hours in the night when you can’t remember how you got from where you were to where you are. Stories are for eternity, when memory is erased, when there is nothing to remember except the story. (pg. 36)| This goes along with the previous quote by saying again that...
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