Essay PreviewMore ↓
The Things They Carried is a collection of stories about the Vietnam War that the author, Tim O'Brien, uses to convey his experiences and feelings about the war. The book is filled with stories about the men of Alpha Company and their lives in Vietnam and afterwards back in the United States. O'Brien captures the reader with graphic descriptions of the war that make one feel as if they were in Vietnam. The characters are unique and the reader feels sadness and compassion for them by the end of the novel. To O'Brien the novel is not only a compilation of stories, but also a release of the fears, sadness, and anger that he has felt because of the Vietnam War.
One of the significannot
concepts in The Things They Carried is that of the importance of certain objects or feelings used by the soldiers of Alpha Company to survive the war. Some examples of these items are the picture of the girl carried by Jimmy Cross, the Bible carried by Kiowa, and the stockings carried by Henry Dobbins. All the items helped the respective soldier to survive from day to day and to continue fighting the war. One of the most important things that helped the soldiers is their friendship with each other. This bond that the soldiers form helped them to survive, excluded someone who was outside their group, and helped the men of Alpha Company to cope with the war after they returned to the United States.
How to Cite this Page
"The Importance of Friendship in The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien." 123HelpMe.com. 23 Jan 2020
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Tim Obrien’s novel, “The Thing’s They Carried,” centralized on the belief that storytelling can save our lives. When stories are told we look for meaning within the stories. Stories affect people in many different ways, and sometimes trying to tell a whole story does not always tell the real truth. He uses storytelling to deal with the loss and grief he encountered during the Vietnam War. Although he is sharing his stories post-war, he challenges his readers in deciding which stories are actually considered true war stories.... [tags: Life, Emotion, Army, Death]
1261 words (3.6 pages)
Wilfred Owen's Dulce Et Decorum Est, Tim OBrien's The Things They Carried, and Siegfried Sassoon's Suicide in the Trenches
- Wilfred Owen's Dulce Et Decorum Est, Tim OBrien's The Things They Carried, and Siegfried Sassoon's Suicide in the Trenches Many war pieces express a distinct sense of truth, hatred, and anger that can be found in the style, tone, and imagery they possess. Incredible images are created in ones mind as war writings are read and heard. Works written by such writers as Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen, and Tim OBrien really reach out to the audience by way of the authors choice of words and images that they use in their writing.... [tags: Owen Dulce OBrien Carried Sassoon Essays]
1362 words (3.9 pages)
- The Importance of Friendship in The Things They Carried The Things They Carried is a collection of stories about the Vietnam War that the author, Tim O’Brien, uses to convey his experiences and feelings about the war. The book is filled with stories about the men of Alpha Company and their lives in Vietnam and afterwards back in the United States. O’Brien captures the reader with graphic descriptions of the war that make one feel as if they were in Vietnam. The characters are unique and the reader feels sadness and compassion for them by the end of the novel.... [tags: Vietnam War Tim O'Brien Literature Essays]
1356 words (3.9 pages)
- The Importance of Friendships Friendship can be define as a voluntary, close, mutual and dyadic relationship. A friend is a person with whom we share a deeper level of interaction and communication. When we say deeper it does not mean that necessarily we need to be in contact with our friends very frequently. We can still have a valuable friendship and not be in touch with it for a long time. A real friend is a person that even we do not see him very frequently, we still manage to catch up with each other from time to time, and talk as if time has not pass by.... [tags: Interpersonal relationship, Love, Friendship]
1091 words (3.1 pages)
- Have you ever felt the feeling of butterflies in your stomach or heard the phrase “my heart skipped a beat for you”. As children, we grew up learning from our elders and experiencing new beginnings in life. Much of our knowledge has been brought upon by what we see and hear, rather of what we know. Many important decisions we make in our life has to do with what our feelings show us. Love is an important matter in our life because it motivates us in different ways. Love can be shown through emotions or even through actions.... [tags: Love, Actions, Emotions]
2291 words (6.5 pages)
- Friendship might be called as a special kind of concern for your friend, a concern which might reasonably be understood as a kind of love (Helm, 2005). All of us have friends, whatever we are poor or rich. Friendship is very important to us, some of our friends may listen to us when we feel disappointed or happy, we share with our feelings each other; some others may take care of us when we are sick; some of them may live with us side by side. But as Sparks says, "Technology offers great capabilities to keep in touch with people, but it also can keep us from really getting to know someone"( Neuber, 2007).... [tags: Value of Friendship]
886 words (2.5 pages)
- Riding With the Top Down; The Importance of Friendship “The silver friend knows your present and the gold friend knows all of your past dirt and glories. Once in a blue moon there is someone who knows it all, someone who knows and accepts you unconditionally, someone who is there for life.” This is a quote I read once in an article by Jill McCorkle. I wrote it down and posted on my wall. McCorkle’s description of a “gold friend” describes a friendship that I have with a group of girls who mean the world to me.... [tags: Personal Narrative Friendship Essay]
1086 words (3.1 pages)
- Relationships in The Things They Carried The Things They Carried is a collection of stories about the Vietnam War, but in reality, the book centers around the relationships the men make, their connections to the world they left behind and the connections that they formed to Vietnam. The stories are not war stories, but stories about love, respect and the bonds made between men when they spend day after day fighting just to stay alive. One of the clearest points in The Things They Carried is that of the importance of certain objects or feelings used by the soldiers of Alpha Company to survive the war.... [tags: Things They Carried Essays Vietnam War Friendship]
1674 words (4.8 pages)
- Importance of Friendships Throughout the many unique and individual experiences I went through, the friendships that I made were one in a million. These friends shaped me and formed me in so many ways. I have learned an unfathomable amount through friendships as well as accumulating a lot of personal growth. The significance of friendships in my own American experience has taught me unique lessons, an open mind, respect, growth, and has given me a strong feeling for who I am.... [tags: Friendship Essay]
1181 words (3.4 pages)
- There are many valuable things in life, but friendship may be the most valuable. To live life without the experience of friendship, is not living. Human interaction is a necessity to survival, but developed friendships are essential to the successful well being of anyone. Based upon the American Heritage Dictionary, the definition of a friend is, ?A person whom one knows, likes and trusts.. But to all, Friendship has no defined terminology. The definition of a friend, and friendship, is based upon oneself?s own notions.... [tags: Friendship Essays]
1034 words (3 pages)
The bond that men form with each other in the heat of battle is incomprehensible to those who have not experienced warfare for themselves.
It's a hard thing to explain to somebody who hasn't felt it, but the resence of death and danger has a way of bringing you fully awake. It makes things vivid. When you're afraid, really afraid, you see things you never saw before, you pay attention to the world. You make close friends. You become part of a tribe and you share the same blood you give it together, you take it together. (O'Brien, 220)
This bond of friendship helps the men of Alpha Company survive on a day to day basis. They rely on each other for entertainment to drone out the monotony of the days. With hours and hours of marching and no action the men need a release or the boredom would drive them crazy. An example of this is "Kiowa teaching a rain dance to Rat Kiley and Dave Jensen, the three of them leaping around barefoot while a bunch of villagers looked on with a mixture of fascination and giggly horror" (O'Brien, 39). These men looked to each other for emotional support and reassurance since none was coming from the homefront. The men of Alpha Company trusted each other with their lives. Dave Jensen and Lee Strunk are a good example of this trust, "In late August they made a pact that if one of them should ever get totally fucked up a wheelchair wound the other guy would automatically find a way to end it" (O'Brien, 71). This pact helps these two in that they know that if it came down to living their entire life in a wheel chair that the other would end it there in Vietnam. The men trusted each other to make no mistakes because one mistake could cause someone to lose their life.
He pictured Kiowa's face. They'd been close buddies, the tightest, and he remembered how last night they had huddled together under their ponchos, the rain cold and steady, the water rising to their knees, but how Kiowa had just laughed it off and said they should concentrate on better things. And so for a long while they'd talked about their families and hometowns. At one point, the boy remembered, he'd been showing Kiowa a picture of his girlfriend. He remembered switching on his flashlight. A stupid thing to do, but he did it anyway, and he remembered Kiowa leaning in for a look at the picture "Hey, she's cute," he'd said and then the field exploded all around them.
Like murder, the boy thought. The flashlight made it happen. Dumb and dangerous. And as a result his friend Kiowa was dead. (O'Brien, 192)
This trust of the soldiers in each other with their lives created the friendship and bond that helped them survive each day in Vietnam.
This friendship and bond that the soldiers form in combat is also seen when the Narrator is wounded and leaves Alpha Company and runs into them at Base Camp. The Narrator feels like he is not part of the group anymore. "In a way, I envied him all of them. Their deep bush tans, the sores and blisters, the stories, the in-it-togetherness. I felt close to them, yes, but I also felt a new sense of separation" (O'Brien, 221). The men of Alpha Company still recognized the Narrator as a friend, but since he was not out in the "bush" risking his neck everyday, the friendship was different.
They were still my buddies, at least on one level, but once you leave the boonies, the whole comrade business gets turned around. You become a civilian. That's how I felt like a civilian and it made me sad. These guys had been my brothers. We'd loved one another. (O'Brien, 221)
The Narrator not only feels like he is not part of this special bond of soldiers in the field, but finds out that he is replaced by another.
Sanders shrugged. "People change. Situations change. I hate to say this, man, but your out of touch. Jorgenson he's with us now."
"And I'm not?"
Sanders looked at me for a moment.
"No," he said. "I guess your not."
I felt something shift inside of me. It was anger, partly, but it was also a sense of pure and total loss: I didn't fit anymore. They were soldiers, I wasn't. (O'Brien, 225)
From this point in the novel the Narrator finishes his tour feeling he does not belong after losing this bond with his comrades. If this happened while he was in the battlefield, the Narrator might not have survived the war.
The bond formed between the men of Alpha Company also helps them to survive when they come back to the United States. When the soldiers returned from the war they find a country that does not want to talk about the war and is even trying to forget it happened. Norman Bowker turns to the Narrator to help him express his feelings.
What you should do, Tim, is write a story about a guy who feels like he got zapped over in that shithole. This guy wants to talk about it but can't. I'd write it myself except I can't ever find any words, if you know what I mean, and I can't figure out exactly what to say. (O'Brien, 179)
The soldiers feel that the only people they can talk to about the war are their "brothers", the other men who experienced the Vietnam War. The friendship and kinship that grew in the jungles of Vietnam survived and lived on here in the United States. By talking to each other, the soldiers help to sort out the incidents that happened in the War and to put these incidents behind them. "The thing to do, we decided, was to forget the coffee and switch to gin, which improved the mood, and not much later we were laughing at some of the craziness that used to go on" (O'Brien, 29).
The friendships and bonds that formed in the jungles of Vietnam between the members of Alpha Company help them to survive on a day to day basis. Not only while they were "in country", but in dealing with their lives back in the United States. Without the bonds of friendship none of them men of Alpha Company would have survived mentally or physically the strains and trauma of the Vietnam War.