The Things They Carried By Tim O Brien Literary Analysis

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The True Tragedy of Vietnam:
A look into Tim O'Brien's emotional anti-war message

The Vietnam War was a war of great ambiguity. Flowered up with the illusive ideas of heroism and triumph, millions of America's innocent youth were drafted to fight a war in Vietnam. The consequences for this war were grave and dire. Millions from both sides lost their lives for a seemingly unreasonable cause. In his novel "The Things They Carried", Tim O'Brien changes the glorified way in which media and textbooks portray war, telling gruesome stories illustrating the irreparable damage war inflicts on the lives of young soldiers. The "things" the characters carry both concrete and emotional. Woefully, the ladder catapults the men into a lifetime of struggling to cope with the crushing weight of guilt, grief, and haunting memories that cannot be unloaded.
Despite the uncertainty of the legitimacy of the war, there spread the traditional message that defending one's country is a man's greatest purpose and honor. Fighting for a cause one passionately believes in is
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Jimmy Cross "hated himself...This was something he would have to carry like a stone in his stomach for the rest of the war." (O'Brien 16) In fact, he later reveals that despite burning Martha's letters and photographs, he "couldn't burn the blame." (O'Brien 24) Cross wasn't the only one who struggled for the rest of his life to unload the things he carried. O'Brien returns to the scene Kiowa was killed 20 years after the war, still seeking closure. Most tragically, Norman Bowker drives in circles on a frozen lake back, feeling completely lost even at home. He ultimately commits suicide, unable to bear the load any longer. "It was sad," Cross thought. "The things men carried inside." (O'Brien

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