Things They Carried By Tim O Brien: Chapter Analysis

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For many Americans, the Vietnam War does not pertain to their lives because it is a matter of the past. However, it has definitely affected the lives of the veterans. Although the Vietnam War ended forty years ago, veterans are constantly haunted by the atrocious memories. The thought of war triggers their emotions and creates worry due to the encounters on the battlefield. In particular, a veteran named Tim O’Brien publishes The Things They Carried to demonstrate the realities of war. Through a compilation of stories, O’Brien inserts himself into the book as a character, narrator, and writer to depict how the war changed his life. He illustrates the truth behind war in different perspectives to show the certainties that people are stuck …show more content…
During the war, when the camp is under attack, Kiowa falls headfirst into the deep muck. When Bowker grabs him by the boot in attempt to save Kiowa, he is slapped in the face with a foul aroma of muck. He could not tolerate the horrid smell and eventually abandons Kiowa. As a result, Bowker is burdened by thoughts of guilt. After the war has ended, he cannot bring himself to move on with his life due to his selfish act. As a temporary coping method, he imagines having a conversation with his father. If he could gain the courage to talk to his father, he would confess, “The truth… is I let the guy go.” (O’Brien 105). It is essential for Bowker to confess his feelings to someone because he wanted take the guilt off his shoulders. Bowker was unable to admit his failure to save Kiowa, and eventually hangs himself. Although he was courageous by fighting in the war, he could not gain the courage to express his …show more content…
Even though the Vietnamese people warned him, Lieutenant Cross makes an order to set up camp in a sewage field. If he knew any better and listened to the people, Kiowa would have still been alive. He thinks about writing a letter to Kiowa’s father and explaining how great of a soldier Kiowa was. But, his guilt and sense of responsibility gets in the way, and he concludes that “He would apologize point-blank. Just admit to the blunders.” (O’Brien 114). As a way to cope with the emotions, he decides to change the content of the letter and apologize for Kiowa’s death. He attempts to find something to blame it on in order to hide from his guilt. Despite all the things he could blame it on, he acknowledges that he is at fault because he was the lieutenant that made the decision to stay in the field. As the overwhelming thoughts run through his head, Cross tries to remain calm by pondering about golf in New Jersey. As he dozes off thinking about teeing it up at the first hole, he forgets about his troubles and considers writing the letter after the

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