The Things They Carried

Topics: Guerrilla warfare, Army, Vietnam War Pages: 3 (820 words) Published: November 24, 2013

“The Things They Carried”

Thesis Statement: In “The Things They Carried,” the soldier uses physical objects to calm their secret fears. This symbolizes emotions, spiritual burdens within the objects that symbolize times, places, and also what they feared. Another thing we are not aware of is when the author mentions dust which is a constant reminder to the soldiers that they are not safe. In this short story the narrator wanted to express the loneliness the soldiers felt and distressed because of the lives lost in this War was catastrophic. The narrator also uses his own personal experiences from Vietnam, thus allowing him to cope. Later on in the story you also see the slight psychological damages the soldiers will have. When referring to the items in the story the narrator uses them to symbolize, the characters, photos, and letters. “The items structure both the story and the book.”(Henningfeld 1) Allowing a great deal of vision in the story, the narrator shares his stories and as well as other characters who also tell their stories. Soldiers items that they are carrying is more of a metaphor because what each soldier is actually carrying is fear, the feeling of being alive, and his haunting memories. The place in which this particular story takes place is in Vietnam. On April 16 the narrator mentions this particular date because it is when Ted Lavender dies. O’Brien mentions the month of April because it symbolizes the harshest month in Vietnam. After Ted Lavender dies, this is when Lieutenant Cross hits reality. The men in this story deal with their unexpected and long-term effects of the Vietnam War and how they survived. Thus follows up with how the physical and emotional burden of the war affected them. There is also foreshadowing throughout the story, especially when mentioning Curt Lemon, and Kiowa before he tells the reader when and how they died. Lieutenant Cross rationalizes his part in Vietnam, His call of duty toward his country and...

Cited: Page
Farrell, Susan Elizabeth. Critical Companion to Tim O’Brien: A Literary Reference to His Life and Work. New York: Facts on File, 2011. Print.
Herzog, Tobey C. “Going After Cacciato and The Things They Carried.” Tobey O’Brien.
New York: Twayne, 1997. N. pag. Print.
Henningfeld, Diane A. “The Things They Carried.” Ephost@epnet.com. Salem Press, 1
Sept 2006. Web. 8 Oct. 2013.
Chen, Tina. "“Unraveling The Deeper Meaning”: Exile And The Embodied Poetics Of
Displacement In Tim O 'Brien 's The Things They Carried." JSTOR. N.P., (1998):
77-98. Web. 8 Oct. 2013.
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