The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien

1260 Words6 Pages
The Things They Carried, written by Tim O’Brein, is a story told through the eyes of members of a United States Army troop trudging their way through the Vietnamese country side and jungles during the Vietnam War. Each man has a specific job and so they carry specific belongings that they need to fulfill that job as well as a few mementos from home. These men also carry unseen baggage that is all too real to these men, their families and responsibilities back home preying on their minds, the horrors of war, and the stress of the importance of fulfilling their duties to keep then men around them alive. The soldiers carried the individual items necessary for individual jobs and sentimental mementoes from home, such as Rat Kiley, the platoon medic, who carried a canvas medical bag filled with supplies and Kiowa, a Christian Native American, who carried his grandfather’s hunting hatchet, a pair of moccasins, and a New Testament. These items were of as much importance as the overabundance of weaponry the men carried to keep them alive. In a way, the personal belongings were reminders of home that helped the men combat the perils and nightmares of warfare and without the comforts of life on the home front, the likelihood of the men surviving the mental onslaught which was daily thrown at them would have been greatly decreased, in a way, the home-born reminders saved these soldier’s lives. Each soldier lugged or “humped”, as O’Brien refers to it in the story, different items for different jobs. "As a big man, therefore a machine gunner, Henry Dobbins carried the M-60, which weighed 23 pounds unloaded, but which was almost always loaded. In addition, Dobbins always carried between 10 to 15 pounds of ammunition draped in belts across hi... ... middle of paper ... ... and memories of home it would have been a heavier struggle to stay sane and keep hope alive. Works Cited ""Battles are Always Fought Among Human Beings, Not Purposes": Tim O'Brien’s Fiction as a Response to the Crisis of Modernity." Renascence; Winter 66.1 (2014): 25-45. EBSCO. Web. 28 Apr. 2014. Belasco, Susan and Linck Johnson. "Tim O'Brien." The Bedford Anthology of American Literature Volume Two: 1865 to the Present. Boston/New York: Besalsco/St. Martin's, 2008. 1457-471. Print. Clarke, Michael Tavel. "'I Feel Close to Myself': Solipsism and US Imperialism in Tim O’Brien’s "The Things They Carried"" College Literature 40.2 (2013): 130-54. EBSCO. Web. 28 Apr. 2014. Smiley, Pamela. "The Role of the Ideal (Female) Reader in Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried: Why Should Real Women Play?" Massachusetts Review 43.2 (2002): 602-13. EBSCO. Web. 28 Apr. 2014.
Open Document