"The Things They Carried" list the variety of things his fellow soldiers in the Alpha Company brought on their missions. Several of these things cannot be seen, including guilt and fear, while others are specific physical objects, including matches, morphine, M-16 rifles, and M&M's candy.
Throughout the collection, the same characters reappear in various stories. The first member of the Alpha Company to die is Ted Lavender, a "grunt," or low-ranking soldier, who deals with his anxiety about the war by taking tranquilizers and smoking marijuana. Lavender is shot in the head on his way back from going to the bathroom, and his superior, Lieutenant Jimmy Cross, blames himself for the tragedy. When Lavender is shot, Cross is distracting himself with thoughts of Martha, a college crush. It is revealed in "Love" that Cross's feelings for Martha, whom he dated once before leaving for Vietnam, were never reciprocated, and that even twenty years after the war, his guilt over Lavender's death remains.
In "On the Rainy River," the narrator, O'Brien, explains the series of events that led him to Vietnam in the first place. He receives his draft notice in June of 1968, and his feelings of confusion drive him north to the Canadian border, which he contemplates crossing so that he will not be forced to fight in a war in which he doesn't believe. Sitting in a rowboat with the proprietor of the Tip Top Lodge, where he stays, O'Brien decides that his guilt about avoiding the war and fear of disappointing his family are more important than his political convictions. He soon leaves, going first back home to Worthington, Minnesota and later to Vietnam.
In addition to Ted Lavender, a ...
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...is contention that stories have the power to save people. In the stories of Curt Lemon and Kiowa, O'Brien explains that his imagination allowed him to grapple successfully with his guilt and confusion over the death of his fourth-grade first love, Linda.
I like this book because Tim O'Brien explain every thing that's going on at the time very good, and your never confused about what happening at any minute of the book. The details about the kills, wound, and injuries are very gruesome but interesting. This book helped me try to imagine some of the fears that they the soldiers felt during these times. Some times in the book it is almost as if Tim O"Brien is going back and fourth between two different stories. This makes his writing style seem very significant and unique when compared to the style of other writer.
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