The Things They Carried, Literary Analysis

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Connor Bickford

Prof Guy
ENC1102 A1
7 Mar 2013
Literary Analysis of “The Things They Carried”
“The Things They Carried” by Tim O'Brien depicts a platoon of soldiers serving in the Vietnam War. The Vietnam War was fought during the 1960/70's in the country of Vietnam. It was an unusually brutal war and many veterans suffered for years after from their traumatic experiences. The author tells of all the things they carried from weapons to the emotional burden of wartime. Short memories are recalled, and insights to the characters are developed as everything the soldiers carried are revealed. The author tells stories of many of the soldiers missions and escapades. The Author effectively uses the elements of fiction: tone, style, and symbolism to help the reader understand the soldiers hardships in the Vietnam War.

Tim O’Brien uses the tone of the story to enhance the view of the hardships the soldiers faced. Throughout the story a soldier named Ted Lavender is mentioned. He was killed by an enemy and his death is talked about often. The author uses a cold, unemotional tone to make Ted Lavender's death a common topic . O'Brien writes on page 347, “ But Ted Lavender, who was scared, carried thirty-four rounds when he was shot in the head outside Than Ke, and he went down under an exceptional burden... He was dead weight. There was no twitching or flopping.” The flatness expressed by the author is used to show the hardships on the soldiers mental state. Another mentioning of Lavenders death says, “...before Lavender died,..”(O'Brien 348), and another says, “After the chopper that took Lavender away, Lieutenant Jimmy Cross led his men into the village of Than Ke. They burned everything.”(O'Brien 353) In reaction to the Vietnamese soldiers shooting Ted, the soldiers get what they call revenge. They killed everyone in the village and burned it to the ground. This gruesome writing helps portray the tone the author used, cold and dark. The death of Ted Lavender...
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