Analysis Of Tim O 'Brien's The Things They Carried'

1423 Words6 Pages
MacKenzie Mayo The Things They Carried In the novel, The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien shares several different experiences during the Vietnam War that had a great impact on the soldiers that fought along side him and himself. Although not all the stories are connected to one another, some intertwine. Attempting to show the reader who he is then and who he is now throughout the book, O’Brien flips back and forth between the past and the present: sharing his experiences during the war and his current time being a post-war father. War takes a toll on a man in more ways than one. Many seek comfort in bringing personal items with them to battle to remember where they came from and what they have to look forward to when returning home.…show more content…
In “The Dentist” Curt Lemon had a more than healthy tooth ripped out to prove he was brave. This wasn 't really a form of courage but more of a shield to protect himself from the fear and weakness that drove him to dislike the dentist in the first place. In “On the Rainy River” Tim does not believe in the war. He has no clue why the war even began in the first place, and has no idea who the president of North Vietnam is for that matter. Tim believes that he is “above” the war but the pressure from his community forces him to be shipped off to war. Hesitant to go, Tim knows he must go so that he does not look like a coward in front of his family and friends. He does not believe that men go to war due to there overwhelming urge to fight for their country or to show off their bravery but to show that they are courageous instead of cowardly. Although soldier’s are glorified as brave and strong, they still fear embarrassment and shame. When Tim lost his first crush due to a fighting battle with cancer, he never recovered from the affects death had on him. O’Brien’s shows that his fears ran deeper than being cowardly— he feared death more than…show more content…
Some find comfort in writing down their experiences 20 years later, like O’Brien. Others find it seemingly impossible to go on with life after facing the harshest reality the world has to offer. In “Notes” Norman Bowker asks Tim to write a significant story about someone who robbed him of his way to live anymore. Norman was too caught up in his memories to write it himself without getting overly emotional. The chapter “Speaking of Courage” is really Norman’s story. For the story to fit into O’Brien’s new novel, he replaced several aspects of it with his own if the story was going to be successful. He left out the death of Kiowa, a death that haunted Bowker. Once Norman read the story by Tim, he was upset that Kiowa’s death as omitted and committed suicide eight months later. This shows several different personalities that entered the war and were drastically changed after it. Soldier’s like Norman Bowker did not know how to continue living with the guilt and emotional deterioration caused by the war and others such as Tim and Lee Strunk came out of the war treasuring every moment they have left to
Open Document