Theme Of Chaos In The Things They Carried

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Through using repetition of phrases and lines, Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried,” shows how a human can become automatic (robotic, unfeeling) in survival mode, and the chaos one feels in war. He does this to bring the reader in and show them chaos might not be favorable, but in some situations, chaos is a necessity. In the short story “carried,” has many different definitions. One definition meant to carry a physical object. Another meant to carry emotional baggage. These are the tangible and the intangible. A paramount part of this story is the relationship between Jimmy Cross and Martha. Jimmy Cross “carries” the burden of regret. This is shown in the short story when O’Brien writes, “Right then, he thought he should’ve done something…show more content…
Since they are running on instincts, this reality may not be real to them. This could be another reason why O’Brien uses the tangible things they carry, and the intangible. The tangible is the reality they are in right now, granted not a favorable one. The intangible is the dreams Jimmy Cross is having. The dream of, “walking barefoot along the Jersey shore, with Martha, carrying nothing.” Carrying nothing could mean carrying no equipment, or it could mean not carrying any of the emotional baggage he had with him, just complete emptiness and serenity. O’Brien at times also did not indent his paragraphs, this made the story like a poem as well. On page 473 he didn’t indent the day-dream Jimmy Cross has. May be O’Brien felt this needed to stand alone, and could be told separate by itself. That little passage by itself tells its own story and could be a standalone piece. This also points to a chaotic tone. This short story does not follow a traditional short story. All the nuances in this story make it a pretty unique piece. It follows a poetic structure at times, yet some passages are their own short story themselves. This follows a chaotic structure, and goes well with the setting (Vietnam War). O’Brien shows the chaos of War and integrates into every part of his
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