April 16, 2012
The Things They Carried
In the book, The Things They Carried written by Tim O’Brien, the challenges faced by war are explained in the form of stories. The effects that war can have on a soldier in Vietnam are not solely limited to the physical state, but also the mental state, as is shown when O’Brien introduces the character Mary Anne Bell in chapter nine. The corruption that war brought to an individual’s life led to an altered view of morality and Innocence, as well as the desensitization of an individual.
The Innocence of an individual was easily corrupted by war, the sights and events faced by a person had the ability to change even the strongest of minds. When Mary Anne arrived at the camp, she was fascinated with every aspect of the war. “Though she was young, Rat said, Mary Anne Bell was no timid child. She was curious about things. During her first days in-country she liked to roam around the compound asking questions…” (91). She felt compelled to learn everything she could about the environment around her. Although it was dangerous, she pestered the men to allow her to visit a neighboring village, in order to feel how the natives lived. “Her pretty blue eyes seemed to glow. She couldn’t get enough of it.”(92) It is because of Mary Anne’s curiosity that her character experienced events that were not endured by the other men. When Mary Anne returns to the camp she couldn’t have been more content with herself, but she wanted more. It can be assumed that O’Brien uses Mary Anne’s continued curiosity throughout the chapter to show how it ultimately led to the corruption of her Innocence. “What happened to her, Rat said was what happened to all of them. You come over clean and you get dirty and then afterward it’s never the same” (109).
An Individual that may have had high morals entering a war would sometimes come out of it, with little or no morals at all. The experiences...