Things They Carried By Tim O Brien: Character Analysis

Pages: 3 (611 words) Published: October 22, 2015


There are many ways in which the characters and the setting go together. By knowing where and when a story takes place, we are able to better understand what each character is going through. In the short story “The Things They Carried” written by Tim O’Brien, O’Brien does a great job describing what each character is feeling and going through, both emotionally and physically. In the story we are introduced to seventeen young American soldiers who are in the middle of the Vietnam War. “They are called legs or grunts” (1301). Their job consists of patrol the Vietcong jungle looking for the enemy. Throughout the story we are made aware of many of the physical and emotional challenges these young men had to face due to their harsh environment.
Since each of the soldiers is not accustom to their new environment, they have many physical obstacles that they need to overcome. “The things they carried were largely determined by necessity” (page 1300). Because they were grunts, meaning they traveled by foot, they need to make sure that they carry enough food...

Several of them brought with them little things from home like love letters, a bible, or just plain old Kool-Aid. Another emotional issue that they each struggle with and had to face every day was death. “They were afraid of dying but they were even more afraid to show it” (page 1308). They each felt that it was a sign of weakness, so instead of showing that they were afraid to die, they would carry it with them inside. They all were forced to look death in the face everyday that they were there. After one of their own is killed, they all experienced a form of survivor’s guilt. This was a guilt that they carried with them everyday. Each soldier had to find their own way to deal with the guilt; some made jokes while others would daydream. One thing was very clear they would never be the same...
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