Psychoanalytic Perspective In The Things They Carried

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“They carried the sky. The whole atmosphere, they carried it, the humidity, the monsoons, the stink of fungus and decay, all of it, they carried gravity.” (pg.15). The men in The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien offers readers very unique and interesting view of the Vietnam War and the mentality of a soldier. When this story is viewed through Sigmund Freud’s “psychoanalytic lens” the novel reveals itself as much more than just another gory war novel. According to Sigmund Freud psychology there are three parts of the mind that control a person’s actions which are the id, ego, and superego. Psychoanalysis states that there are three parts of the human mind, both conscious and subconscious, that control a person’s actions. The Id, ego, and…show more content…
The Things They Carried is a classic because it approaches the gruesome subject of war in a way that is truly unique and honest. O’Brien’s unique point of view results in a book that is revered by the majority of its readers. “Now and then, when I tell this story, someone will come up to me afterward and say she liked it. It’s always a woman. Usually it’s an older woman of kindly temperament and human politics. She’ll explain that as a rule she hates war stories; she can’t understand why people want to wallow in all the blood and gore. But this one she liked” (pg.65-66). Many soldiers come home from war and try to hide the brutality of war from the rest of the population. Tim O’Brien allows readers in on the horrid truth of war! Throughout the novel, Tim O’Brien depicts how his fellow platoon members are held captive by their subconscious minds. “He shot it in the hindquarters and in the little hump at its back. He shot it twice in the flanks. It wasn’t to kill; it was to hurt. He put the rifle muzzle up against the mouth and then shot the mouth away. Nobody said much. The whole platoon stood there watching, feeling all kinds of things, but there wasn’t a great deal of pity for the baby water buffalo” (pg.75). It would be impossible for someone who has not experienced war to understand how the subconscious mind can imprison a soldier. However, O’Brien’s stories are so vivid that the reader feels that he or…show more content…
O’Brien’s unique verisimilitude writing style fills the novel with deep meaning and emotion. Analyzing the novel through a psychological lens only adds to its allure. Understanding why characters act the way they do helps bring this novel to life. The reader begins to empathize with the characters. Every day, the soldiers’ lives hang in the balance. How these soldiers react to life-threatening situations will inspire the reader. Life has an expiration date. Reading about people who are held captive by their minds and who die in the name of war, will inspire the reader to live everyday as if they are currently in the
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