Emotional Experiences in Tim O´Brien´s The Things They Carried

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Most stories about war show the glory of war and heroism of soldiers. According to OED, war is “a state of armed conflict between different nations or states or different groups within a nation or state”. But, what’s the definition about the stage of confusions in the soldier’s mind? A conflict between two nations or states can be resolved in a particular amount of time but can an experience from a person’s mind can ever be forgotten, can a person ever be able to resolve his own conflict: his fight with his emotions, changes, and his own mind? Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried is a powerful combination of fact and fiction; through description and imagination, O’Brien allows the reader to feel a soldier's hardships in the war and emotional state. His purpose of the book is to tell a war story, which isn’t true, doesn’t have a teaching, cannot be believed, and most of all, which never has an ending & not about the Vietnam War. In his fiction, each man’s physical burden reflects on to his emotional burden caused by different changes in his life throughout the war time. In The Things They Carried, O’Brien wants to convey the emotional experience of soldiers without concern for objective reality.
But, why does this change occur? Why does change that can be clearly seen by others, so important to O’Brien? He uses short sentences and consistent repetition of different terms or usage of same format to drag us into his writing, making us eager for the next event that the following story will tell us- although all the stories in The Things They Carried do not go in order to which the events actually happened, we as readers do not even know if those events actually happened or not; still, we feel the chronological order of changes that...

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...otional baggage of men who might die. Grief, terror, love, longing—these were intangibles, but the intangibles had their own mass and specific gravity, they had tangible weight" (“Carried” 23). O’Brien showed the effect that emotional longings have on one’s thoughts & feelings. Though he tells that his novel is about story-truth, which is not about war and do not have a moral; but one can understand that O’Brien’s fiction is a message against forcing young people into war. By true-made up stories; the author shows the transformation of one’s emotional state through war and its long-lasting impact. O’Brien’s stories prove that seen physical burdens emphasize the unseen emotional burden: physical burden can be expressed in words, but emotional burden, changes that are encouraged by our surroundings cannot be expressed in words- thus they always remain untrue yet true.
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