The author begins the paragraph of this short story with, “They carried all the emotional baggage of men who might die” (O’Brien 608). The soldiers seem to be terrified of causing the death of someone else than they are of dying themselves. At the beginning of the short story, O’Brien outlines all of the items the soldiers carry physically, including their “emotional baggage”. For some of the soldiers, their “emotional baggage” might be things they left postponed back at home, such as Lieutenant Jimmy Cross’s love for Martha. However, for others, their “emotional baggage” might become much heavier from the things they endure and experience through the battles of the war.
Also, the narrator proceeds to list the intangible emotions he and his men carry. “Grief, terror, love, longing… shameful memories.”,“They carried their reputations. They carried the soldier 's greatest fears, which was the fear of blushing” (O’Brien 608). Their intangible emotions became the biggest burdens of the soldiers since they will never be dropped or forgotten; theses feelings will carry through the soldiers long after the war. In like manner, O’Brien makes e...
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... the “easy way out”, also, when the helicopter carries you off, that can be a metaphor of freedom. The helicopter carries them “off to the world” , as if the helicopter is a symbol of freedom because it repels them away from the hell hole of vietnam.
“The Things They Carried” is a story that lists the tangible and intangible items the soldiers carried through their journey in the Vietnam war. The real meaning of the things they carry is revealed in this paragraph because it lists off many of the intangible burden the soldier “hump” through their experience, and maybe their entire life. In contrast, the soldiers avoid to be seen as cowards, but, who is the coward. Is it the one who goes to war, or is it the one who goes because they are afraid of what other may think of him if he doesn 't. Can it also be the one who decides not to fight because he 's afraid of death?
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