The Things They Carried

Topics: The Things They Carried, Soldier, Grammatical person Pages: 3 (1103 words) Published: February 16, 2004
The things they carried,by Tim O'brien

"Oh man, you fuckin' trashed the fucker. You scrambled his sorry self, look at that, you did, you laid him out like fuckin' Shredded Wheat." I chose to start off my essay with this particular exert from the book because I think that it very much represents the story in itself. Azar said this, after Tim (supposedly) killed a Vietnamese soldier with a hand grenade. It shows that in times of war, how callous men can become. However, callousness varies, whether they chose to be apathetic, like Tim shows us after his grenade episode. Or whether they choose to be more myopic, as shown through Azar's insensitive actions (i.e. the young lady's tragic loss, the puppy, need I say more?). "The things they carried" by Tim O'Brien is a tale, not about war, but rather about war's affect on one's mentality.

In "the things they carried", author Tim O'Brien tries to teach readers that war changes people, by using baggage as a symbol throughout the book. Ultimately, "the things they carried" is literally built on a foundation of the things they carried. Whether it's the way Jimmy Cross uses the pebble to escape from his duties as a soldier. Or the way that they all look up to the pantyhose as an almost godly relic. All the way to Norman Bowker finally realizing that courage comes from within, not from winning the Silver Star. These things, made up the soldiers attributes, made up the soldiers' persona, made up the soldier. But they didn't stop at the soldier; certain items characterized all the soldiers as a collective group. It even went as far as to describe an entire group by the things all of them carried, of course being the green berets. There were no single green berets just a group; nobody made an effort to distinguish one from another. Like the way we make no effort to name each and every cell in our body, they are just smaller pieces that make up one entity.

Throughout the entire book, O'Brien makes several...
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