Tim O’Brien shows the effects of war by showing how war could make people do things they wouldn 't normally do. In the chapter “How to Tell a True War Story”, O’Brien explains how one time when the men were hiking in the mountains of Vietnam, they came across a baby buffalo. They then capture the animal and lead it back to camp with them to set up for the night. Rat Kiley, one of the members of the platoon mourning the loss of his friend, Curt Lemon, viciously attacks the animal. “He stepped back and shot it through the knee. The animal didn’t make a sound. It went down hard, then got up again, and Rat took off an ear. He shot in the hindquarters and in the little hump at it’s back. He shot it two times in the flanks. It wasn’t to kill, it was to hurt”(79). Kiley killing the innocent animal shows how crazy and inhumane some of the men were becoming. Surely if Kiley wasn’t in a situation where he was around danger and death all of the time he wouldn’t have reacted that way to the death of his friend. Killing the animal is one thing, but making it suffer made it more gruesome and made readers really think abo...
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...e heard that Strunk had died somewhere over Chu Lai, which seemed to relieve Dave Jensen of an enormous weight”(66). By O’Brien telling that Jensen was relieved at the fact that he wouldn’t have to kill Strunk, it shows how it was hard for him as a human being at war to kill someone that he actually knew. He knew that they had made a deal, but he also knew that it wasn’t what either one of them really wanted to do. The deal blurred the lines between right and wrong in Jensen’s eyes.
In his collection of short stories, The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien explores the effects of war on young people and how war can affect people permanently. He also explores many other ideas, but the most important idea ultimately would be that when ordinary, innocent people go over to other countries and kill other ordinary and innocent people, neither one of them goes home the same.
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