The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien: War and Experiences of a Soldier

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The Things They Carried, By Tim O’Brien
Tim O’Brien’s novel, The Things They Carried, provides an incredible realization of what life was like for an American soldier who fought in Vietnam from perspectives before, during, and after the war. The story’s power draws you in. It makes the events in the story seem real and provides the reader with a sense of what it feels like to be one of the soldiers. O’Brien’s talent as a writer made a fictional story more than believable to the reader. When reading this book, the reader struggles with depicting what is factual and what is fictional. O’Brien provides this effect by blurring the line between reality and fantasy. The book recollects many stories from O’Brien’s own experiences as a soldier and includes fictional aspects to enhance the story and to help O’Brien get his point across. O’Brien teaches us in all of these stories that there is no difference between what is factual and what is fictional in war. By doing this, the reader experiences the feelings that O’Brien and his comrades felt. The Things They Carried describes what those men carried to battle and back home, both tangible and intangible. The novel questions what war is and what the individual soldiers received out of it. This novel is an eye opener. Any person’s perspectives on the war and its soldiers are most certainly to change after reading this book. The Things They Carried brings the Vietnam War to life like no civilian could have ever imagined.

The things the soldiers carried in Vietnam were both tangible and intangible. The tangible items include the usual equipment that soldiers carry, but most important is the intangibles. This book emphasizes that the intangibles the soldiers carried influenced everything about their lives, before, during and after the war. These things included the mental and psychological weight carried by the soldiers. This weight included shame, horrid memories, death and destruction. It included relationships and...
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