Tim O'Brien Essay

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Chad Ehrlich
Tim O’Brien Essay

Tim O’Brien’s, The Things They Carried, contained different memoirs that truly bring the actions of war to life for the reader. Obrien’s book expresses the real feelings a solider faces while getting ready to go into war, in war, and post war. Through his vivid descriptions the reader is able to emphasize with the emotional burdens and stresses solders must go through while on duty. We are able to observe the different coping mechanisms solders must endure, including, cutting them selves off from reality and preoccupying their mind with other, sometimes meaningless, thoughts .The chapter that had the largest impact on myself was “Night Life.” For me this passage truly depicted not just the physical, but mental battle soldiers must go through; and the extreme measures taken to relive themselves from the intensity of battle.

In “Night Life” Obrien talks about a solder named Rat Kiley, which is a secondary story he heard from Mitchell Sanders. The platoon was in the foothill of west Quang Ngai City, and had been receiving intelligence about incoming attacks. This caused the troops to only be able to move in the night, when it was harder to be spotted by their enemies; the soldiers referred to this movement as “living the nightlife.” Many people think of the nightlife as going out and having fun, yet the solders just used this term to trick their minds from the thought that at any moment they could be attacked and killed.

Living the “night life” proved to be too harsh a reality for Rat Kiley as he slowly started to drive himself insane. Kiley begun like many other solders that fear for the life would react, and tried to hold in his emotions, not saying a word. However, as the days slowly passed away Kiley becomes even more insane, and actually started to think that the bugs trying to purposely attack and kill him. He seemed to become as crazed as someone taking drugs such as methamphetamine, and began to scratch...
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