The Burden in The Things They Carried by O'Brien Essay

The Burden in The Things They Carried by O'Brien Essay

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The Burden in The Things They Carried by O'Brien 


In "The Things They Carried," O'Brien made reference to the Vietnam war that was closely associated with the physical, psychological, and emotional weight the soldiers beared.  The overall method of presentation of this story incorporated many different outlooks on the things the soldiers carried, dealt with, and were forced to adapt to.  In addition to this, O'Brien showed us the many reasons why and how the soldiers posessed these things individually and collectively and how they were associated directly and indirectly.  The strong historical content in "The Things They Carried" helped emphasize the focus of the story and establish a clearer understanding of details in the narrative and moods of the war itself.  From this, we are able to draw conclusions and assumptions to the events as it relates to the Vietnam war.  Three areas that "The Things They Carried" established and elaborated were the youthfulness of the Vietnam soldiers, their language and thought patterns, and the actual tangible and intangible things they carried.

     During Vietnam, soldiers were selected to be bought in to fight by draft.  Many families lost their youth through this process that would immediately force young boys to leave home and train for war.  I found an intriguing website that will tell you according to your birthdate, if you would or would not have been drafted during that time period. (Go)  In O'Brien's narrative, he portrays the soldiers as being young.  In the opening of the story, we immediately see a young man, First Lieutenant Jimmy Cross, who is deeply in love with a college girl.  On page 13, we find out that he is only twenty-four.  Throughout the story we find many hin...


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...page 15, O'Brien describes that the men carried the whole atmosphere.  On page 15, we are made aware that they carried diseases, parasites, infections and many other ailments.  Page 15 elaborates on how the soldiers carried the land itself.  They carried ghosts, their lives, eachother, pressures, and often the burden of just being alive as explained on page 19.

     "The Things They Carried"  helped recognize particular aspects of the war as it associated with the soldiers and their lives individually and collectively.  Through his story, O'Brien described the overall mood of the war and the soldiers involved.  "The Things They Carried" posed many aspects and angles of the burdens the soldiers packed during throughout the war as well as the emotional stress that was associated along with it.

O?Brien, Tim. The Things They Carried. NY: Broadway Books, 1998.

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