Tim O'Brien's, the Things They Carried Critical Essay on Ptsd

Topics: Posttraumatic stress disorder, Vietnam War, Psychological trauma Pages: 4 (1344 words) Published: November 26, 2012
Dan Gaumer Gaumer 1
Prof Montgomery
English 104
Hard Times of Norman Bowker
Have you ever found yourself carrying something heavy for a long period of time? Do you remember feeling pain, or wanting to drop the object because it was too much to bear? Tim O’brien’s novel, The Things They Carried, is about men in the middle of the Vietnam War just trying to survive. These men, like all soldiers, carried many things ranging from the physical items of war to the emotional and mental weight that comes along with the horrors of war. “They carried all they could bear, and then some, including a silent awe for the terrible power of the things they carried.”(O’brien,7) I believe in this novel, O’brien gives many great and detailed examples of PTSD, even in his own life.

This novel is more than just about the Vietnam War. It is about what a solider goes through on and off the battlefield. It’s about the art of a real war story. Most importantly it’s about what soldiers carried, physically, mentally, and emotionally; during, before, and after the war. The soldiers that made it back home suffered from many mental issues, mainly Post Traumatic Stress Disorder(PTSD). Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that's triggered by a terrifying event. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event. Many people who go through traumatic events have difficulty adjusting and coping for a while. But with time and taking care of yourself,

Gaumer 2
such traumatic reactions usually get better. In some cases, though, the symptoms can get worse or last for months or even years. (Staff, Mayo Clinic,"Definition”) Thoughts of sorrow and loss overwhelm the Vietnam veterans upon their return back home. Crushed from the horror of war, they come back to even bigger disappointments and sadness. Instead...
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