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. Courageous Fear And What It Means To Be A Courageous Soldier
Many soldiers of today know what courage is. Courage is doing what is needed to do, not what absolutely must be done. In Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried”, the soldiers were not what one would think of as courageous. The soldiers were courageous in the sense that their courage came from fear of dishonor. The soldiers did what must be done in order to keep their honorable reputation. True courage was not present until the end of the story.
*Courage in the context of combat in this story was not real courage; it was merely going through the motions of being in war.
“So, soldiers dream; they pretend and deny in order to diminish the horror. Precisely because it captures that human reality in the midst of war and unbelievable horror, O’Brien claims that “Cacciato is the most realistic thing I’ve written...”
(Tim O’Brien and the Art of the True War Story: “Night March” and “Speaking of Courage”)
*The fear of being in the war caused them to have mistaken courage. The objects they carry give the soldiers a sense of courage and luck in having these things.
“Truly, the men recognize the delusional nature of their fantasy, for they knew that” they would never be at a loss for things to carry.” The implication that they will be carrying their experiences once they return also appears here, in the narrator’s evocation of “the great American war chest,”which includes Fourth of July Sparklers, Easter eggs, and the forests of Minnesota. “
(The Things They Carried, Criticism about Tim O’Brien)
*What it means to be a courageous soldier.
“It’s such a complicated subject, it’s hard to know what to say. It’s easy to break down courage into categories.
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(Comtemporary Literature, Vol. 32, No. 1, Spring, 1991,pp1-11)