Something A Soldier Ignores: Death
Fatalities are part of every person’s life. To a normal citizen, death is often followed by sadness and grief. As portrayed in “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien, a soldier has to deal with the situation much differently. Death is portrayed in a negative light due to the fact that soldiers are greatly fearful of it and that they are forced to be unaffected by death. In order to cope with all the deaths he witnessed, O’Brien uses the retelling of war stories to heal from these traumatic events. Throughout the novel, death is definitely portrayed as being a very negative part of war. Because it is such a negative thing, death tends to instill fear in soldiers. From the beginning of the novel, death is truly portrayed as being a very negative risk that anyone at war deals with: “Beyond all this, or at the very center, was the raw fact of terror. I did not want to die. Not ever” (44). It is known that death could be the outcome of going to war, and many of these young soldiers do not want to die. Even though many soldiers end up going to war anyway, they are still fearful of death being a possible outcome for them. All of this fear and anxiety associated with war ultimately leads most people to view death in a negative light. It is definitely something that soldiers want to avoid, and even if they are not killed, death still has negative affects on them. In addition to death being portrayed in a negative light from the beginning of the novel, the soldiers are forced to be unaffected by death. As a result, it is seen how war changes people in a negative way. Once the war is all over, the negative affects are still present, and O’Brien deals with them through retelling the past. It is seen that anyone that becomes involved in war eventually learns to be unaffected by death when one of the soldiers’ girlfriends comes to visit. She never leaves...
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