The Things They Carried Formalist Analysis/ Readers Responce

Topics: The Loss, Lavender, Protagonist Pages: 3 (1168 words) Published: April 10, 2012
The Things They Carried Ben Cornelius The story “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien is an enormously detailed fictional account of a wartime scenario in which jimmy Cross (the story’s main character) grows as a person, and the emotional and physical baggage of wartime are brought to light. The most obvious and prominent feature of O’Brien’s writing is a repetition of detail. O’brien also passively analyzes the effects of wartime on the underdeveloped psyche by giving the reader close up insight into common tribulations of war, but not in a necessarily expositorial sense.. He takes us into the minds of mere kids as they cope with the unbelievable and under-talked-about effects or rationalizing death, discomfort and loneliness as well as the themes of heroism, physical and mental pain, and a loss of innocence. Obrien achieves this through extended description, imagery and tone coupled with an intimate relationship with the stories main characters. O’brien repeatedly states what each soldier is carrying for two reasons. The first reason is character development. The more the reader knows about a character’s possessions the more he/she effectively knows about the characters themselves. An example of this would be how Cross carries a picture of a girl, fantasizing whether or not she is a virgin. Dobbins carries extra rations and his girlfriend’s pantyhose around his neck. This implies superstition and an above average weight. Ted Lavender carries weed and tranquilizers to placate his anxiety. This suggests an inability to cope with death or violence; perhaps wartime as a whole. Finally Kiowa carries an illustrated copy of the new testament and a knife given to him by his father. These possessions allude to the fact that he is a man of god with a respect for his father. I think it id ironic, though, that all of these men’s non-military items are of no real consequence in the war. They don’t do anything. It could be argued...
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