ccording to the 1990 Veterans organization report, one in every three Vietnam veterans that were in heavy combat suffers from post-traumatic stress; this includes thirty-three percent of soldiers who went to Vietnam, or nearly one million troops, who gave into post-traumatic stress. PTSD must have been common in the group of soldiers in Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried” due to the amount of burdens each soldier carried. Throughout the story, O’Brien demonstrates theme of psychological, physical and mental burdens carried by every soldier. He emphasizes these burdens by discussing the weight that the soldiers carry; their psychological and mental stress they have to undertake as each of them experience the brutality of the Vietnam War. The physical burden that each soldier carried was a necessity for them due to their emotional burdens that they carried.
Each soldier carries many things both physically and mentally during times of war and strife. For the war, The United States implements a draft in which young men are drafted and forced to go into the military for the war. Many of these soldiers are young, immature, and escape adulthood, yet there is one phase of life that cannot be avoided: death. Cross felt responsible for the younger kids’ death because he felt it was his job to protect the innocent.
In his assessment of storytelling, O’Brien highlights the challenges of telling stories by including many tales that take place after the Vietnam War. For example, back in America, the soldier’s of Vietnam found
In the novel The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien the author tells about his experiences in the Vietnam war by telling various war stories. The quote, "It has been said of war that it is a world where the past has a strong grip on the present, where machines seemed sometimes to have more will power than me, where nice boys (girls) were attracted to them, where bodies ruptured and burned and stand, where the evil thing trying to kill you could look disconnecting human and where except in your imagination it was impossible to be heroic." relates to each of his stories.
Matriz, Roger, ed. Contemporary Literary Criticism. Detroit, MI: Gale Research Inc., Vol. 5, 6, 9, 19, 27. 1991.
After the devastation that World War II left the world, no one wanted to go into another war. Families lost their members, countries lost their dignity, and some soldiers were left with the moments of war forever in their minds. However, the concern that communism was going to spread made Vietnam become the longest war in American History. During this time a lot of young people were anti-war, they were sick of losing people they loved to violence. Though the war still needed to be fought so men became soldiers freely or because they were drafted. In the story “Things They Carried”, soldiers are faced head on with the Vietnam War. Tim O’Brien shows how the men carry the weight of physical objects through out the war. The men bog themselves down with physical objects that they do not necessarily need yet, they can drop them at anytime. On the other hand, it is the emotional baggage the soldiers carry that makes the most weight. One of the biggest emotions the soldiers carry is fear, because they are constantly in danger of war. Fear can cause more than just terror and panic, but cowardliness as well. Even through all soldiers hold emotional baggage, what separates them is what each one carries with them or does to help them deal with the emotions. However, what Jimmy Cross carries with him only makes his emotions dig deeper into him and causes him to carry more guilt and pain than any other soldier in the story.
Fighting the Vietnam War dramatically changed the lives of everyone even remotely involved, especially the brave individuals actually fighting amidst the terror. One of the first things concerned when reading these war stories was the detail given in each case. Quotes and other specific pieces of information are given in each occurrence yet these stories were collected in 1981, over ten years following the brutal war. This definitely shows the magnitude of the war’s impact on these servicemen. These men, along with every other individual involved, went through a dramatic experience that will forever haunt their lives. Their minds are filled with scenes of exploding buildings, rape, cold-blooded killing, and bodies that resemble Swiss cheese.
The Vietnam War was a traumatic experience for everyone that fought on the ground. American soldiers were up close and personal with the Viet Cong (enemy) which made them live in constant fear for their lives. They never knew how they would die or when they would take their last breath, and this thought was always in the back of their minds. The Vietnam War was very brutal, and the amount of death from both sides was enormous. Tim O’Brien’s story “The Things They Carried” is an accurate description of the Vietnam War. He paints a good, yet brief, description of what the war was like for the American soldiers who fought on the front lines.
“War is nasty; war is fun. War is thrilling; war is drudgery. War makes you a man; war makes you dead,” (80). In the fiction novel The Things They Carried, the author Tim O’Brien reminisces fighting in the Vietnam War and the aftermath of the war with his platoon mates through short stories and memories. He goes in depth about the emotional trauma and physical battles they face, what they carry, and how Vietnam and war has changed them forever. O’Brien’s stories describe the harsh nature of the Vietnam War, and how it causes soldiers to lose their innocence, to become guilt-ridden and regretful, and to transform into a paranoid shell of who they were before the war.
Since these soldier are of such a young age the emotions and burdens are highly intensified. The men that were drafted for Vietnam were in their late teens to early twenties. They had absolutely no concept of killing. These young men were students or boyfriends, they had no idea how to handle the loss of a fellow soldier who they have forged a friendship with. The author Tim O'Brien uses details to point out what the experience was like for these young men. To illustrate the fear and cowardice that none of them could admit to. This is something that all of the soldiers had to deal with. Even though they were scared to go out and fight they did so anyway because, it was hard for these men to face the burden of emotion. When Ted Lavender died his fellow soldiers were indeed sad for his loss but, every single one of them was happy that it wasn't them who was dead. They can still live one more day deal...
The war in Vietnam was the longest, and perhaps the most brutal, war in American history. There have been countless books, movies, and songs made in honor of the soldiers who lost their lives in Vietnam. In one particular novel called The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien, the reader follows a platoon of soldiers throughout their service in the Vietnam War. It is through these accounts that the reader sees how huge of an impact the war had on everyone who was involved in it. In this particular collection of stories, the traumatizing events of the war caused radical changes of character in the soldiers who fought in it.
Forum 19.4 (Winter 1985): 160-162. Rpt. inTwentieth-Century Literary Criticism. Ed. Thomas J. Schoenberg and Lawrence J. Trudeau. Vol. 192. Detroit: Gale, 2008. Literature Resource Center. Web. 30 Nov. 2013.
In the passage from Tim O’Brien explains how the war was back then and the things that the soldiers suffered during the war. Also just the tragedies that happened in there to get to the readers and so the readers fully understand what Tim O’Brien explained.
164-69. Rpt. in Contemporary Literary Criticism. Ed. Jeffrey W. Hunter. Vol. 341. Detroit: Gale, 2013.Artemis Literary Sources. Web. 5 May 2014.
The emotional stress that most soldiers carry with them during times of war is due to their inexperience and age. The majority of men who fought in the Vietnam war ranged from ages early as eighteen to their early twenties. Among these men, were sons, spouses, friends, boyfriends, and students, who could not understand the thought of war, killing, or contend with their friends’ unexpected deaths. From the beginning of the story, O’Brien the author of “The Things They Carried” uses specific details and illustrations to show readers what the experience was like for the men during the Vietnam war. Among the many things that the men carry were guilt, fear, grief, and stress. Throughout the story O’Brien emphasizes the dreadful events that these men carry with them by incorporating the use of multiple themes such as: the emotional and physical burdens, fear, psychological well being and the use of motifs and symbols such as death in handling difficult situations.