The Things They Carried

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The Uncertainty of Truth: The Importance of Fake and Fact

April 28, 2020 by Essay Writer

What is truth? The age old question that many have been asking over and over again, from the time of Aristotle, to today with Cornel West. For some, truth is found in religion. To others, truth is found in self. Some spend their lifetimes seeking genuine truth. Others do not give it a second thought. In Tim O’Brien’s, The Things They Carried, the truth is explored through a series of personal encounters, with fabrication and fact tightly intertwined. For O’Brien, truth has the traits of being experiential, perceptive, and contradictory.

Personally in my own life, I find the topic of truth to be one that is extremely interesting. The truth subjective, but has the ability to hold a tremendous amount of weight. For many, it holds everything. Yet, one fact of truth can shake the entire entity of what one person can hold to be their one and only truth. Relating back to my example of religion, there are millions who base their whole life on the fact that they believe it all to be their own truth. But if one thing could break it, then in turn, their whole life is broken.

The Things They Carried is a novel about a group of solders fighting in the Vietnam war and their experiences throughout it. I chose to write about this short story collection, wrote about Tim O’Brien because it is one of my favorite books, and when I was assigned to read it in high school, the heaviness of truth presented in the book flew over my head. Re-reading the novel and writing my final paper on this was a good choice. Also, my grandfatther fought in the Vietnam War, and although it is a work of fiction, I was able to relate it to him, and understand further about where he truly came from.

By focusing on the truth, the novel reveals the importance of experience through telling stories. At first glance, the concepts of truth and storytelling may seem to be opposing, but that is not the case. Storytelling makes it possible for a listener to feel genuine compassion and empathy, making another person’s experience seem like his own. The feelings and emotions of a character become personal for the reader. O’Brien explains” the difference between “happening-truth” and “story-truth” (171). He explains that while happening-truth is situationally accurate, story-truth allows the reader to experience the same feelings which he had felt. He gives an example when he describes what he saw on the battle field:

His jaw was in his throat, his upper lip and teeth were gone, his one eye was shut, his other eye was a star-shaped hole, his eyebrows were thin and arched like a woman’s, his nose was undamaged, there was a slight tear at the lobe of one ear, his clean black hair was swept upward into a cowlick at the rear of the skull, his forehead was lightly freckled, his fingernails were clean, the skin at his left cheek was peeled back in three ragged strips, his right cheek was smooth and hairless, there was a butterfly on his chin, his neck was open to the spinal cord and the trail, a slim, dead, almost dainty young man. (124)

Despite the graphic and specific description of the “dainty young man”, O’Brien later admits that he had never actually witnessed this scene. Still, although he might not have actually seen the individual faces of bodies lying in a field, by describing a “star-shaped” gouge in the dead soldier’s eye, he is able to incite the same feeling of terror that he had truly felt during his time in Vietnam, making the story-truth emotionally true as well. He paints an eerily realistic picture that allows the reader to believe the story is true in order to bring his story to life, enhancing the emotive experience. Therefore, despite understanding the fictional basis of O’Brien’s stories, people will continue reading The Things They Carried as if were is autobiographical, simply because of the overwhelming power behind story-truth.

In this way, stories can possess a mystic power over the human mind. A good narrative can transport readers from where they are to a far-away land, a different time, or even an alternate reality. For example, “The Allegory of the Cave”, the philosopher Aristotle challenges his fellow thinker, Glaucon, to question what is true. He asks Glaucon to imagine a situation in which people are chained and forced to believe their entire realities consist of shadows dancing on a cave wall, cast from a fire and puppets behind them; the captives’ “happening-reality”. He then asks what would happen if a captive should dare to stray from the familiar images cast upon the wall; “And if he is compelled to look straight at the fire, will he not have pain in his eyes which will make him turn away and take refuge in the shadows which he can see?” (Plato). Aristotle implies that even when given a glimpse of reality, an individual will still return to what is comfortable. This is also true for many who read The Things They Carried. Although O’Brien consistently reminds us that this novel is a work of fiction, we still retreat to the ease of believing that his story is truth. The power behind experience is revealed through both narratives. Like the captives chained within the cave walls who still choose to believe the images on the wall despite seeing the reality of fire, readers remain bound to believing O’Brien’s story-truth because the feelings he incites is not easily shaken. To them, their experience stands to be the truest.

The slipperiness of truth is also revealed through perception. After the death of Ted Lavender, Lieutenant Cross is found curled deep within a foxhole he had dug while struggling to fight back tears. His troop listens on as he weeps throughout the night. When they see him, they see a boy who is hurting, a leader who cares so deeply for his men that he can hardly carry the heavy burden of loss. And while there is truth to the men’s perception of the situation, this is not the entirety of it. “In part, he was grieving for Ted Lavender, but mostly it was for Martha, and for himself, because she belonged to another world…” (16). Unrequited love. She would never love him the way he loved her. Cross is certainly mourning, but that sorrow is not reserved for Lavender as the others had thought. Truth to Kiowa and Bowker was that Cross had lost a soldier. Truth to Cross was that he had lost his love back home.

Truth in perception can also be seen beyond the scope of The Things They Carried. In October of 1967, tensions grew high throughout the nation as news was released of the usage of chemical warfare by American troops. There was a clear division in where people stood; either for or against the Vietnam War. On that day in October of ’67, students of the University of Wisconsin began boycotting the use of napalm. Shortly after the protests began, the Madison police arrived at the scene. In the matter of moments, the boycotts broke out into riots, as police forcefully pushed students out of the commerce building.

Clouds of tear gas and screams of horror filled the air. The terrified students watched as an inescapable wave of batons, helmets, and uniforms quickly approached them. Administrators, professors, and peers watched as bleeding protestors stumbled out of the crowd, collapsing to the floor in agony (Two). Even in this situation, perception is the key to truth. To the students, the war was senseless. To many others, it was necessary. To the protestors, the police were brutal beasts of destruction. To the authorities, they were keepers of peace. Perception deeply affected the scope of how each party viewed the situation and was the deciding factor on what actions should be taken.

Because truth is so heavily influenced by perception and experience, truth is also contradictory. In many instances, there are multiple truths to one experience. Despite the pain that childbirth brings, it also bears the miracle of life. In death there is loss, but also relief from the hurt of this world. O’Brien leaves another perfect example; “The truths are contradictory. It can be argued, for instance, that war is grotesque. But in truth war is also beauty. For all its horror, you can’t help but gape at the awful majesty of combat” (77). In this, O’Brien explains the conflicting angles of a single instance. Through the destruction of war there still stands a sense of beauty. Both statements stand true, but it is also a matter of who’s scope you view it through.

“War is nasty; war is fun. War is thrilling; war is drudgery. War makes you a man; war makes you dead” (76). According to O’Brien, the truth is messy. Truth is fabrication and concrete simultaneously. Truth is personal and yet still universal. Truth is ubiquitous. Truth is important. Truth is not easily defined. Through the muddiness of it all, one thing is for sure; the truth is certainly uncertain.

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156

Jimmy Cross in The Things They Carried

April 28, 2020 by Essay Writer

The things they carried written by Tim O’Brien. I decide to talk about Jimmy Cross.

This character that happens to be the center of focus in the entire work done by Tim O’Brien is Jimmy Cross who works alongside missions. In other work, O’Brien reveals several things about the company among them being fear and guilt which he defines as intangible together with tangible objects such as rifles, morphine, and matches.

In these work, O’Brien describes the events that led him to the Vietnam War which is the same reason as to why he ends up being a soldier.

In the entire character, Jimmy Cross reappears in various stories where his mental state keeps changing to adapt to the surrounding. During the overseas war mission, several members were killing. The author describes how Jimmy’s teammates under the Alpha Company succumb to death while in the battered field and the impact it leaves behind to the team. He points out the death of Ted Lavender who is a low ranking soldier who was shot while getting out of the bathroom. Lavender used to deal with his anxiety by smoking marijuana and taking a tranquilizer, and Jimmy Cross feels responsible for Lavender’s death. When Lavender was killing, Jimmy Cross is in the course of distracting his thoughts of her college crush, Martha. Jimmy Cross feels for Matha were reveal in the love chapter whereby the author goes ahead to indicate that the character perfectly reveals the aspect of love.

The reason I choose Jimmy Cross is the fact that he perfectly reveals several aspects of a soldier while in the battlefield. In the love chapter, Jimmy Cross was introducing while carrying the letter from her crush although the letters are not loved letters, and as a result, he wrapped them in a plastic bag and placed them in the bottom of his rucksack. The character perfectly reveals the aspect of patience and anticipation since after he had concluded his daily activities, he would get the letters and hold them with his fingertips and spend a lot of his time pretending to be reading the letters. While holding the letter, Jimmy Cross would imagine the romantic moments that he would be spending with her crush including the camping trips in the New Hemisphere. In some occasions, he would taste the flags of the envelope because she knew that her lips had passed there and he always wished that Martha would love him back just like he did. The thoughts of Matha by Jimmy seemed to occupy the most significant part of his routine since he always wished that everything would happen as he expected both in his love life and in his career. Jimmy plays a significant role in the chapter since he reveals the aspect of love while on the battlefield and the impact it brings especially after the end of the battle.

The reason O’Brien includes Jimmy Cross in this chapter is the fact that he appropriately reveals the aspect of hump which he describes as carrying something The lieutenant is reveal as a person who humps his love for her college crush regardless of the mountains, swamps and the distance the lies between them. The intrinsic meaning of the term hump is to march or walk although, in this context, he brings out the burdens that are beyond the imaginations of the characters. Most of the soldiers in the Alpha Company humped photographs and in Jimmy Cross’s wallet, he had photographs of his love which he kept wondering who had actually taken them. The photographs expressed frankness and competitiveness which made the lieutenant remember the moments that he has spent will her before getting in the battlefield.

With regards to conducting his duties, Jimmy Cross used to be a platoon leader who used to carry maps, a compass, binoculars, codebooks as well as 45 caliber pistol that used to be loaded fully at all times. He also used to carry a strobe light and was typically responsible for the safety of his team members. Being a leader of his platoon, Jimmy Cross had the role of ensuring that his teammates remained safe in the course of the war and had the authority of conducting missions in the most appropriate manner. When Tim Lavender was shot dead while getting of the bathroom, Jimmy Cross feel guilty of the occurrence because he was constantly lost in his thoughts thinking about Martha rather than taking care of his fellow soldiers.

This indicates that Jimmy Cross had developed a positive relationship with his team members to ensure that the mission was effectively undertaken. The feeling of guilt seems to have taken a larger part of Jimmy Cross thoughts since O’Brien goes ahead. To indicate that twenty years after the death of Lavender, he still feels guilty of what took place in Vitamin Jimmy Cross plays a significant role in ensuring that his fellow soldiers have been assigned the appropriate duties with regards to their ranking in the line of service.

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106

Feminist Themes in The Things They Carried

April 28, 2020 by Essay Writer

The author of “The Things They Carried” is Tim O’Brien. His full name is William Timothy O’Brien who was born in October 1946, in Minnesota, U.S. Tim was a lieutenant in the Vietnam War.

In huge numbers of his books, he discussed the Vietnam War. Tim is likewise best known for the story he composed named “The Things They Carried.” This story was about a fictional novel in the Vietnam War. He’s best known for an obscuring of combing fiction and fact that is his own. Tim sets the memory and dream and the open door for mental escape that these forces offer in the novel’s essential subjects. Even though every one of the episodes enlightens the writer’s flashbacks of the Vietnam War, the writer incorporates female characters that have a focal influence in the book. Tim O’Brien shares his Vietnam War involvement by utilizing objects the fighters. He employs enhanced officers to bring the substances of War.

Every one of the men had their feelings to uncover. Jimmy Cross, The Principal Lieutenant, exceptionally kind pioneer of the detachment who conveyed the photographs and letters composed by a young lady he had left at home. Numerous different officers expressed unique items like a journal, book of scriptures and an ax given by their friends and family. Tim set a group of significant things that in truth depicted a passionate state, enthusiastic snapshots of the war. He symbolized these gigantic feelings and isolated them to the men of Alpha Organization to convey. These things make up the sign of Vietnam War.

Martha is a standout amongst the essential female characters. She symbolizes the adoration and risk. “The Things They Conveyed” communicates the account of Lieutenant Jimmy Cross, who keeps recollections of his loved ones, including Martha, who he met in school. Jimmy Keeps every last bit of her photographs and letters and regularly thinks around evening time whether Martha goes out with different folks. Jimmy detects that Martha gives him false expectation and doesn’t love him as much as he adores her. One day he leaves for a task, however even there he can’t center around the activity and continues contemplating his removed love. His companion Lavender gets harmed around then and kicks the bucket sooner or later. This occasion makes Jimmy to ponder the unnecessary love for Martha and to assess the significance of his devotee musings about his affection. In this novel, Martha speaks to want, as the most critical inclination, and risk, since this mentality moves to excruciating outcomes. She uncovers an enchantment love that assaults the brutal reality of war. This tricky dream of Martha, the expectations for a future existence with her proceeded onward to the way that the lieutenant is continuously unfocused by contemplating the articles he wants, even at the most hazardous minute. With this novel, the creator makes an affirmation that at the season of the war the troopers should focus on their exercises, on what is going on around them and not be occupied by the recollections of the past, as this can cost a human to lose his life. The character of Martha demonstrates a fight amongst adoration and risk, dream and the harsh reality of life.

Mary Anne Chime is another significant character in this novel, and she speaks to the loss of honesty. In this story, the choice of warrior Stamp Fossie to convey his sweetheart to the Vietnam War. Tim characterizes Mary Anne as an appealing, scientific young lady in great garments. Be that as it may, with a stay in Vietnam, she transforms entirely into a genuine warrior. She ponders the provincial dialect, figures out how to utilize a firearm, and speaks with different warriors. This story is a picture of the change of all warriors in the astoundingly, there real and untalented folks and wind up various, dynamic and weakened men. Tim draws a one next to the other between how Mary Anne misfortunes her delicacy on her coming in Vietnam, and warriors lose their honesty in the war. It is likewise worth seeing that Mary Anne is the main female character who adds to the novel’s activities. In this way, Mary Ringer delineates the loss of blamelessness of all fighters who experience the feelings of dread of war.

Another character Linda who shows up in the last story and includes the demise and human memory. The tale deciphers the essayist’s contemplations on his first love. When he was at war, he thinks about his kindred understudy Linda, with he once went to the film. He was enamored with Linda however; later he discovered that she had last, sickness issues. Linda passed on, sooner or later and Tim says he recalls that him setting off to her burial service and her dead body. The creator’s sentiments of this activity as the experience of death in Tim’s life and appraisals it out of sight that memory is capable of giving brutal life to individuals who were once near the heart. We find dead individuals’ accounts through, writing and Linda’s demise gives a push to Tim to compose books about the experience of the Vietnam War. Tim, the creator, avows the idea that memory denotes a man everlasting since it acknowledges to eternalize his character into various sorts of quality. Tim additionally says that not every one of the narratives he composed is about war, yet about the familiarity with life over the passing of other individuals. Consequently, Linda shows demise, eternal life and the activity of memory in quality.

Taking everything into account, the story “The Things They Carried” is a narrative accumulation of books by Tim O’Brien about the experience of his life in the Vietnam War. Although, the principal characters of the books are officers of the war, and Linda-passing and the hereafter. Female character pointed incredible life esteems and filled the story with various feelings.

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138

The Novel The Things They Carried And War

April 28, 2020 by Essay Writer

War is a human activity that has been around since the dawn of time. One of the most memorable and long-standing conflicts in which the United States involvement has played a huge role was the Vietnam War. Tim O’Brien, author of the novel The Things They Carried, makes a statement about the war: There were times in my life when I couldn’t feel much, not sadness or pity or passion, and somehow I blamed this place for what I had become, and I blamed it for taking away the person I had once been (O’Brien 176).

In the novel, he portrays the soldiers’ personalities through their experiences by seeing the Monks cleaning the guns and the things they carried on them. How inThe Things They Carried Tim O’Brien believes that truth in literature has nothing to do with what actually happened.

In the fiction novel The Things They Carried, O’Brien shows the war as a tragic overall. When it comes to war, most of us are just spectators and we never truly get to experience it. There is so much about war that we just don’t know and see. According to the author, the thing about remembering is that you don’t forget. You take your material where you find it, which is in your life, at the intersections of past and present (O’Brien 33). That shows how the soldiers can be affected by the war mentally and physically. Anything that happens in your past will forever be a part of your life. You can not forget it. You will carry those burdens for the rest of your life. As an ex-soldier of the Vietnam war, we notice Tim O’Brien’s interpreting short stories has a process to evacuate his feelings. The most important thing about the novel is the way Tim O’Brien use the extreme power storytelling. That means, through those stories, O’Brien express his feelings and those of other soldiers. War not only comes with guilt and trauma, but it also has stories. Those stories continue even there is no one. Stories make memories and can be a way to expose our burdens.

In Tim O’Brien own words I want you to feel what I felt. I want you to know why story-truth is truer sometimes than happening-truth (Tim O’Brien 171), the meaning of happening-truth is way more different than the story-truth. They are both different ideas. Even though The things they carried is a fictional novel, it shows us the truth behind real war stories. Tim told the stories that mattered to the reader, relatable things that had a reason. He wrote stories of regret, love and indecision, and not much in-between information. O’Brien made the stories realistic not by telling the happenings, but the truth. By telling the story-truth, O’Brien can deliver the morals and the importance that a war story must carry. Marilyn Wesley has noted that All you can do is tell it one more time, patiently, adding and subtracting, making up a few things to get at the real truth (13). Even if it is a story, you can grab the readers’ attention by passing some true messages through that story. In the novel, there are many true ideas that even in a work of fiction, the audience reading the novel may gain perspective on. The narrator who is also the author talks about everything and everyone with such detail, yet at times it seems almost bland. Details of each soldier’s emotion and true thought at some of the possible life-altering events are almost strong enough to affect the readers’ emotions at times. In “Good Form” (Tim O’Brien 171-172), O’Brien is trying to tell the reader that you can not get the entire truth if you are told what is just happening. He is saying you need to feel the rush of emotions and every detail that is around you. That shows in The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien used “story-truth” to make the readers feel more connected to the reality of it all even though this is a work of fiction.

The dancing girl serves as one of the poignant symbols in the things they carried. None of the soldiers didn’t know why she was dancing, but they offered their theory about it. One of the theories in the things they carried about the dancing girl was probably some weird ritual(Tim O’Brien 130). Ruth A. H. Lahti noted that the story opens with a negative structure that expresses the expectations of character Tim(14). The dancing girl is symbolic of meaninglessness. Azar is put-off by the fact that the girl keeps dancing, even though her family is dead and her village is burned to the ground, He can’t find any meaning in it. This similarity shows us there is no moral to a war story, no right or wrong. Also, the author wants to communicate the fact that her dancing was something to be respected. According to author Brian Jarvis, The Ghost Dance movement was integral to Kiowa culture from 1894 to 1916 and involved a syncretic blend of tribal folklore, peyotism (a native American religion and sacramental ritual involving the hallucinogenic peyote button) and Christian resurrection (8). The author uses evil, religion to explain the fact of the dancing girl. This is why the dancing girl The dancing girl is symbolic of amorality and senselessness as for the soldiers’ life after the war ended.

To conclude, War is a violent conflict followed by destruction and death. In war, everyone is a victim. In Tim O’Brien novel the war is described as the things the soldiers carried. O’Brien also uses the story-truth and happening-truth to show the readers there is a difference between both of them. Through his novel, The Things They Carried he recounts the Vietnam War in detail and why it is so important to understand the general theme of war. The Things They Carried helped recognize particular aspects of the war as it associated with the soldiers and their lives individually and collectively. The novel posed many aspects of the burdens the soldiers packed during throughout the war as well as the emotional feelings that were associated along with it.

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109

Tim O Brien’s The Things They Carried

April 28, 2020 by Essay Writer

1945 was a difficult time for America. There were so many people still recovering from World War II, and now the Vietnam War was starting. The Things They Carried told a story of how the war changed a person, in this case, it was Tim O’Brien.

It showed the struggle he, and many soldiers in any war went through to be able to overcome the grief and the struggle to deal with death. In this time young men were being drafted into the Vietnam War. For example, in The The Things Carried By Tim O’Brien, the protagonist in his book was being drafted into the war but tried to run from it. After he tried to run from his fate he realized he was not able to. This was just the start of The Vietnam War. For example Tim O’Brien and his friends and comrades in the war. He was able to paint pictures through his words being able to let the reader feel like they are there with him. Tim O’Brien’s book The Things They Carried explained in detail how the war affected the soldiers and those around them. Tim O’Brien allows the audience to feel this emotion better by writing this book as fiction. The government also had a hand in the Vietnam war as well. The American involvement in Vietnam was shaped based on the Cold War. Even though his book is fiction, in some ways that can have an advantage in explaining the war.

Tim O’Brien the narrator is telling a story about the participation he had in the war. A lot of symbolism in Tim O’Brien’s book helped us see what he went through, even though he himself did not go through it, this is the reason that a fiction story hooked the reader and gave the reader more information than a nonfiction story can. Tim O’Brien brings up about both the physical objects they carry but also they have to carry their emotional burdens. The objects that each soldier carries serves as a symbol for what they are carrying in their minds. It just starts out with the title, The Things They Carried. Before reading the book one might think that it is just about what the soldiers carried in the war. Which in the beginning that what Tim O’Brien is talking about. He lists every soldier, and what they carried on their backs throughout the war but this can mean something deeper if you look in between the lines. Each and every soldier carries physical baggage but the baggage they carry can represent their emotional baggage from the war. The items on their back were the psychological weight of the war. For example, Lieutenant Cross carried a picture of Martha to comfort him. He also carried a pebble that she sent ton lieutenant Cross that was a good luck charm. The quote Martha wrote that she has found the pebble on the Jersey shoreline, where the precisely where land touched water at high tide, where things came together but separated.(7).

Just like now soldiers would carry pictures and mementos of their loved ones into war to comfort them for example now soldiers may carry pictures. The war had a big toll on soldiers especially when they come home. That emotional and psychological baggage may never go away. Another way the physical baggage they carried can symbolize that they lost their true identity and now they were looked just of what they carried on their backs. Another physical memento that a soldier in the book carries is when Henry Dobbins ties a pair of pantyhose from his girlfriend around his neck to help him remember the good memories he had before the war. Another way thee pantyhose can symbolize something is since while men are at war there is not much female intimacy that they got at home. Now soldiers are able to call their families and even see them. So, that was how they were able to get their female intimacy and a sense of confidence. for example, all the physical items that soldiers would carry because they have something to look forward to, and want to come home. Even though The Things They Carried is a fiction story it has many lessons that the reader can learn. Being a fiction story it is easier and tells everything how it is rather than a nonfiction story where the person writing it could be hiding facts back because they are scared of it. If a veteran would have written a story like this they may have blocked out a lot of important details that have happened because of PTSD and anxiety as well as depression. Fiction can also make it easier to explain horrible events in detail that no one that lived through it could.

For example when Tim O’Brien was explaining to his daughter about what he experienced when his daughter asked Daddy, tell the truth,” Kathleen can say, “did you ever kill anybody?” And I can say, honestly, “Of course not.”(172) As Tim O’Brien stated this quote In the chapter Good Form, O’Brien used the quote that states, story -truth is truer sometimes than happening-truth. (171). After that he continued to explain how as he told these stories that are not true in reality, instead made the reader have the ability to sense that the feelings that it gave the reader a feeling that they are there even if the book is a work of fiction it would give the same sense if it was nonfiction, it gave the same message but not in the same context. Without using fiction some stories that are told would give the reader better knowledge than the real stories would. Fiction would not be completely sufficient for being able to bring the emotions that the soldiers were feeling during the war. Being able to catch someones attention was to main goal in Tim O’Briens Book The Things They Carried of was able to create a story that was able to instantly grab the reader’s interest, it allowed the reader to become more involved and able to make an image and feel the emotions that were actually being felt at the time. Even though Tim O’Brien’s work of fiction was not able to give a true and real story about Vietnam it was able to give Tim O’Brien the ability to use that as an opportunity to use techniques like metaphors and symbolism to let the reader think for deeply about the situation. Fiction may seem like a story of lies, but in his work of fiction, it was positive because it was the only way to tell the real truth.

When reading Tim O’Brien’s story he made sure to have the reader ask little to no questions about the story, but instead, they became in touch with the emotion of the characters. Physical events that happened in the book had a major impact on how he explained the history of the Vietnam War. One of the first physical events that he pointed out was when he brought up the event of the puppy on the landmine on page thirty-five. He stated that one of his friends adopted an orphan puppy and took care of it by feeding it from a spoon. Then Ted Lavender came and took the puppy. Tim O’Brien stated, Azar strapped the puppy to a Claymore anti-personnel mine and squeezed the firing device.(35). This event that he described had a deeper meaning when he was telling it. It symbolized the ability to make Azar have a sense of control in a time where it seemed that no one had control over anything, but he blamed it on his immaturity. Men today in the war still would have had a problem with how they felt during the war. This incident could have also meant that he was killing something innocence and purity just like the war did to him and his comrades in the war. Some other events that had more of a meaning than what was said at that moment in the book. The event that was mentioned was when before the war and he was trying to escape from being drafted in the war, and he went to a cabin in the Rainy River as he decided to stay there for a few months. Then he came to the realization that he could not escape the war. This was what many soldiers still felt in other, more modern wars.

They tried to hide or flee the country, but in the end, they needed to serve their country. The event that made him realize that was on his last day at the cabin. The event was when the cabin owner, Elroy, took him up on the river towards Canada was whe4re Tim O’Brien wanted to go. Tim O’Brien said you’re scared, and there’s a hard squeezing pressure in your chest. What would you do? Would you jump? Would you feel pity for yourself?(54).One of the last and biggest events that happened was the Death of someone close to you can make you see everything in a different light. For Tim O’Brien, this was the death of his first love Linda. The death of Linda represented the event that the past could be brought back through some sort of symbolism in his book. Linda was a classmate of O’Brien’s, but she died of a brain tumor when they were in the fifth grade. This event symbolized O’Brien’s faith that fiction storytelling was the best way to show those emotions. This event showed how he was able to deal with the pain, confusion, and most of all, the sadness that death was able to bring to him. Linda was O’Brien’s first love and also his first experience with death’s random choice. He was able to retreat into his mind, more specifically his dreams. He was able to see Linda, alive.

This showed that even though some things are just dreams which, later for Tim O’Brien evolved into his story that the dead could be alive through those who remember them. The young Vietnam soldier hit Tim O’Brien especially hard, like any first death on his own hands would do for a soldier. He was not completely clear if actually threw a grenade and killed My Khe, the way he described the man’s death is descriptive his death. This symbolized the way humans guilt over how horrible events that happened in the war. In The Man I Killed, O’Brien was able to distract himself from this event by speaking in the third person so he did not have to directly say what he did or not do. He did what many people did they would distract themselves from the memory. How Tim O’Brien did this is by speaking in the third person and constructing fantasies as to what the man must have been like before he was killed.

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183

The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien

April 28, 2020 by Essay Writer

This quote is impactful because it reveals not only the physical baggage that the soldiers carry but also the mental burden. They have to live on with what the outcomes of the war are even after it’s over.

“They carried the soldier’s greatest fear, which was the fear of blushing…They died so as not to die of embarrassment.” (O’Brien 20)

This quote was impactful for me because it shows that men risked their lives to go to war just to save their reputations. They would rather fight in the war because refusing would mean cowardice and men, according to society can’t be that.

“Some carried themselves with a sort of wistful resignation, others with pride or stiff soldierly discipline or good humor or macho zeal. They were afraid of dying but they were even more afraid of showing it” (O’Brien 19)

This quote is impactful because most of these men showed pride during the war to hide their true fears under the mask of humor or enthusiasm. The soldiers could be terrified of being in the war but they still wouldn’t show it because it would show lack of bravery.

O’Brien wrote this to show that they carried much more than guns and equipment, they mostly carried burden in their heads. The outcomes of the war were far worse than they appeared because war changes a person not only physically but psychologically as well. The soldiers were risking not only their lives but their reputations and names as well. Being a coward wasn’t an option, hiding their fears, showing bravery and pride was far more important than showing how they truly felt. Pride, bravery, discipline, good humor, all examples of how they hid those negative feelings they had towards the war. All the weight they carried mentally and emotionally was far worse than it appeared to be on the outside.

Contents

  • 1 “The Man I Killed”
  • 2 “Ambush”
  • 3 “The Dentist”
  • 4 “On the Rainy River”

“The Man I Killed”

“His jaw was in his throat…there was a slight tear at the lobe of one ear…his forehead was slightly freckled…the skin at his left cheek was peeled back in three ragged strips…there was a butterfly on his chin…” (O’Brien 118)

This quote is impactful for me because it shows how unusual O’Brien’s response was when he took a life. Instead of expressing the guilt, he just stared at the body and grasped every amount of detail he could to prevent himself from thinking about his actions.

“The young man would not have wanted to be a soldier and in his heart would have feared performing badly in battle…He loved mathematics…at school the boys sometimes teased him about how pretty he was…” (O’Brien 121)

This quote is important because it shows how O’Brien deals with the guilt of killing the Vietnamese soldier, by imagining how life was like for him. He does this to hide what he actually feels and maybe also to put himself in his shoes in a certain way. “…there was a butterfly on his chin…The butterfly was making its way along the young man’s forehead…Along the trail there were small blue flowers shaped like ” (O’Brien 118 & 120-121)

This quote is important because it shows how O’Brien repeats the physical features of his victim and references a butterfly on the dead body and blue flowers next to the dead body which is ironic. It shows me that even in death, there is life.

O’Brien chose this story to show the effect of death and beauty of life even in death. The effect he wants to invoke on the reader is to put them inside a soldier’s head and show them what they’re going through. O’Brien wants the readers to feel how he felt in the moment he took a life and understand the horror of facing death. It also shows the reader how O’Brien distanced himself from the death, by creating a life for the soldier. He feels safer by focusing on other things rather than thinking about his actions and feeling guilty. Mentioning the butterfly and flowers near the dead body also shows how there is still hope of life among the war. This story helps develop the next story, “Ambush”.

“Ambush”

“He was a short, slender young man of about twenty. I was afraid of him…and he passed me on the trail I threw a grenade that exploded at his feet and killed him.” (O’Brien 125)

This quote is important because it shows how O’Brien has a clear memory of what happened even though it occurred very fast. O’Brien’s repetition of the physical details of the man show how the death was very impactful on him and how he was afraid of him because the effect still haunts him.

“When she was nine, my daughter Kathleen asked me if I had killed someone…Someday, I hope, she’ll ask again. But here I want to pretend she’s a grown-up…This is why I keep writing war stories…” (O’Brien 125)

This quote is impactful because it shows how O’Brien wants to protect his daughter from the horrors of the war. He wants to let his daughter know he did what he felt was right when she is old enough so she understands why he keeps writing war stories and why it is necessary.

“It was not a matter of live or die. There was no peril. Almost certainly the young man would have passed by. And it will always be that way.” (O’Brien 127)

This quote is impactful because O’Brien wants to justify and give a reason as to why he killed a man so people don’t think he acted without reason. He believes that if he hadn’t thrown grenade at the man he would have just passed by and his death wouldn’t have haunted O’Brien.

Tim O’Brien wrote this story to show the readers what effect death can have on soldiers. He also writes to address to his daughter the reasons why he wrote it and to justify his actions. He keeps writing war stories hoping that someday his daughter when she’s older, understands the difficult decisions that had to be taken during the war. The purpose of this story is to show the aftermath of death. It depicts the instinct to survive. O’Brien acted out of fear and didn’t comprehend his actions until it was too late. This story helps readers understand the impact of rapid decisions that have to be made.

“The Dentist”

“He didn’t mind blood or pain-he actually enjoyed combat-but there was something about a dentist that gave him the creeps…He fainted before the man even touched him.” (O’Brien 83)

This quote is important because it shows how Curt Lemon isn’t bothered by violence and death but is afraid of a someone touching his teeth. This means that he is more comfortable being in the midst of chaos and war than going to a dentist.

“Anyone else would’ve laughed it off, but for Curt Lemon it was too much. The embarrassment must’ve turned a screw in his head.” (O’Brien 84)

This quote is impactful because it shows how shame starts to drive a tough soldier crazy. It shows how he values his reputation and doesn’t want people to see him as a coward.

“The dentist couldn’t find any problem, but Lemon kept insisting, so the man finally shrugged and… yanked out a perfectly good tooth.” (O’Brien 84)

This quote is important because it shows how Lemon believes getting a tooth pulled out and coming over his fear of the dentist would keep his reputation intact. It also shows how he is more worried about his reputation than dying in the war and it becomes too much to handle so he decides to act on it.

O’Brien’s purpose of writing this story is to show a different side to the soldiers and the society they live in during his time. It portrays how a tough soldier who is always doing dangerous things is afraid of the dentist. In order to keep up his reputation, Lemon goes as far as to getting his teeth pulled out because it would keep his brave soldier reputation intact among other soldiers. He also does this to prove to himself that he isn’t a coward and to overcome the fact that he fainted. This story helps develop other stories in the book such as “On the Rainy River” by talking about reputation and cowardice. Society expects men to be strong and insensitive, therefore, showing any emotion is a sign of weakness to the soldiers.

“On the Rainy River”

“I feared the war, yes, but I also feared exile… I feared losing the respect of my parents… I feared ridicule and censure.” (O’Brien 42)

This quote is important because O’Brien doesn’t want to go to war but he can’t decide between his fear of losing his family’s respect and his reputation in town. He doesn’t want to flee the draft and disgrace his name among everyone because they would think of the act as lack of bravery and love for their country.

“I think he meant to bring me up against the realities, to guide me across the river and to take me to the edge and to stand a kind of vigil as I chose a life for myself… I couldn’t act… all I could do was cry…” (O’Brien 53-54)

This quote is impactful because Elroy brings O’Brien to the river and without saying anything he wants to face the reality and decide the path he wants to take in that moment. O’Brien is ashamed of this story because he believes crying is a failure of masculinity and him not being able to make a decision shows lack of brave.

“And what was so sad, I realized, was that Canada had become a pitiful fantasy. Silly and hopeless. It was no longer a possibility.” (O’Brien 55)

This quote is important because it is the moment of realization for O’Brien and what he believes is the right thing to do. He won’t escape to Canada because it would be seen as cowardice, and he would rather not bring disgrace upon his family and town.?

Tim O’Brien wrote this story to express the inner struggles he dealt with upon receiving the draft. The author wants the reader see how he is compelled into making the decision of going to Canada or staying and fighting for his country and how he decided on it. The old man O’Brien meets when he’s on his way to Canada plays a big part in the way he decides on what he wants to do, whether he will stay or escape. Elroy forces him to make a choice at the river of what he thinks is right, and never passes judgment onto him. Elroy’s presence forces O’Brien to confront Canada and freedom from the war without him actually speaking. O’Brien’s purpose of writing this book is to justify his decisions and also to put the readers in the position he was in on the rainy river.

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112

The War In The Novel The Things They Carried

April 28, 2020 by Essay Writer

The dangers of war far extend passed the physical repercussions of its battles. This is true in all aspects. As a nuclear bomb can make a habitat unlivable for centuries to come, this is nothing compared to the emotional pain a soldier derives from guilt, fear, or anxiety.

These feelings trump any tangible side effects of combat. This idea is beautifully conveyed in Tim O’Brien’s short narrative, The Things They Carried. The story is centered around First Lieutenant Jimmy Cross’s conflict of being a good officer to his troops as he leads them through Vietnam. Every member of his battalion must physically carry a plethora of different items to aide with their safety in every mission. And although the tangible items they carry seem obtusely heavy, it is virtually weightless in comparison to the countless emotional barriers that pile up as the story develops. Tim O’Brien fixates on three major issues the soldiers struggle with mentally and disputes that fear caused by uncertainty, craving a normal life with love, and the ubiquitous fasade of contentment are traits shared by all soldiers in battle. And these traits heavily exceed any physical toll that is caused by the conflict.

Throughout The Things We Carried, the author displays how the most prevalent hardships of every soldier are their doubt of returning home. This anticipation of egregious circumstances are so frequent to the men, that they inevitably go at great lengths to mentally escape the harsh realities around them. This idea is initially revealed through the protagonists’, Jimmy Cross, letters to his love at home Martha. As the letters go back and forth she never mentioned the war, expect to say, Jimmy, take care of yourself (426). As this quote doesn’t reveal much to the soldier’s hardships, it displays how no one wants to think about the repercussions of war. Even the people in a society who are involved in a war, would rather brush it off as nothing is happening. This is pertinent to note since nobody is acknowledging the war, the soldiers have no one to turn to for their problems except their fellow troubled man. This thought process of pushing negative aspects of life to the back of our heads inevitably leads to more uncertainty. Instead of dealing with the root of an issue the soldiers are forced to act as everything is normal. They do this through humor and some resort to drugs, which exponentially grows their immeasurable trauma induced by fear. Furthermore, death is one of the leading causes of anxiety of the soldier.

As the story continues the soldiers obsessively replay the death of a comrade Ted Lavender. They are not constantly thinking of his legacy or who he was, just the brevity of his death. Kiowa, an Indian-American soldier in Cross’s infantry is especially hurt by Lavenders death. As Kiowa tried not to think of his death, the author writes how he was thinking about how fast it was, no drama, down and dead, and how it was hard to feel anything except surprised Mostly he felt pleased to be alive(437). Tim O’Brien does not include this commentary to display the soldiers as self-involved or greedy people. Rather he includes this narration to reveal the most adverse effect of war which is dehumanization. Kiowa is not able to feel normal human emotions like empathy towards his fallen comrade but can only feel pleased to be alive. Repeatedly, these soldiers are treated as bodies to carry out a specific mission. Where there is lack of focus on the individual and a fixation on the efforts of a group. With this thought process soldiers will stop seeing themselves as a person and rather as a cause. This causes massive amount of worry based on the soldier’s uncertainty of safety. Thus, soldiers inevitably detach from their own self which further creates a highly unfunctional mental state that exceeds any physical outcome of war. Hence, we continually observe that literal fear of death succumbs all aspects of one’s life. And as this fear is to be expected, the detachment from oneself is one of the most appalling realities of war. Unlike the tangible repercussions of war, we are not able to simply move on from this through construction. These negative aspects of the damaged mindset of a soldier will never be fixed but passed on until the individual is no longer able to breath.

Furthermore, fear caused by uncertainty is only one of the multitude of intangible problems faced by soldiers. When a war is declared, men are expected to put their lives on hold to fight for their nation. Tim O’Brien argues that a very large outcome of soldiers leaving their lives behind is their desire for an ordinary life, specifically a romantic life. This infatuation leads to men in battle not able to completely focus on their tasks at hand. Soldiers find themselves pondering at what their lives that could have been during the day, at night, and even in hazardous situations. This is mostly evident through Lieutenant Jimmy Cross’s long-distance relationship with Martha. The author makes it clear that no matter where the protagonist goes, his infatuation towards Martha regularly engrosses his thought process. Martha is on his mind so much, that he finds it increasingly challenging to focus on his battle. It is pertinent to note that Jimmy Cross is the highest commanding officer. He must lead a troop of people through unknown terrain, not knowing if his battalion will live or die. And though his position requires him to be the person who is most involved mentally, even he cannot help but escape the cruelties of battle through his obsession over Martha. This idea of escaping reality is further shown when one of the protagonist’s men, Ted Lavender, is shot.

Once the infantry handles his lifeless body, Cross cannot help but only think of Martha’s smooth young face, thinking he loved her more than anything, more than his men, and now Ted Lavender was dead because he loved her so much and he could not stop thinking about her (430). In most situations regarding death, we see the people surrounding the deceased to feel empathy and despondence. But just as Kiowa, Lieutenant Cross is only able to sympathize towards his own situation. It is ironic to note that with the soldiers fragmented mental health, they would probably need years of therapy before they are able to maintain a healthy relationship. After witnessing countless acts of violence, one becomes very numb to most trauma around them. Over time, these soldiers will keep on finding it more difficult relate with others, but their longing to connect with others will never be suppressed. So Cross continuing to escape his reality through his love for Martha isn’t selfish, but is a biological coping method that will keep his mind from fully detaching from his body.

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142

Book Review The Things They Carried

April 28, 2020 by Essay Writer

In his book, Tim O’Brien aims to shed light on misconceptions and truths of war by thoroughly describing the thoughts and feelings of a soldier in the Vietnam War. He includes the steps and paths taken to become a soldier and also the detailed descriptions of war stories and their effects on individual men. Through examples of death and hardship, O’Brien ties the reader emotionally to the main character. The way he strategically organizes his book to walk the reader through the events of war really immerses the reader while providing insight to tragedy.

In the beginning of the book, O’Brien uses great detail to describe the materialistic things that the different soldiers carried. But the things they carried were not always tangible items but emotional burdens as well. Many of the soldiers were very young – teenagers, newly wedded husbands, or even students. These men were not capable of fulfilling the cruel demands of war such as killing other human beings and being away from loved ones for excruciatingly long times. The book clearly illustrates the conflict of love and war. The main character, Lieutenant Cross, carries emotional burdens himself. A very prominent one is the love he possesses for Martha. The woman who he keeps a picture of in his wallet. The woman whom he still loves and wishes loved him back. He constantly deals with internal turmoil regarding the fragmented relationship he carries with Martha. He often finds himself fantasizing over what they could have been.

Another example of how war affects men is how Lieutenant Cross reacts to the death of Ted Lavender and Kiowa. Cross reacts with much guilt and grief because he was responsible for the lives of the company: When a man died, there had to be blame. Jimmy Cross understood this. You could blame the war A moment of carelessness or bad judgment or plain stupidity carried consequences that lasted forever.” (In the Field.115) This quote is Jim Cross blaming himself for Kiowa’s death. He goes over all the things he could blame but he believes it was his fault. Again, this further proves the internal issues and baggage Jim carries. In another response to the death(s), he rips up the photograph of Martha and basically blames her for his inattentiveness. Due to his preoccupation with her. These two examples, out of many, prove how war affects a person and their emotions. Sometimes their actions too. On any other day, Lieutenant Cross would have ever considered to rip up the picture of Martha due to his emotional ties to her. But he chose to do this due to his deep rooted anger and self hate initially regarding the situation. Many of Cross’s decisions were based off of emotion because he was stripped of mental health as a result of war.

This book is stylistically unique among all other attributes. While I was reading the book, the main thing that stood out to me, regarding organization, was the way that O’Brien achieved to capture my attention and help me relate to the book. By choosing an omniscient narration, I was able to go through the emotions with the main character. By using this narration style, O’Brien is able to appeal to all ages and people of different walks of life. Even though the reader may not have any military background.

If you refer back to the chapter titles, the titles are a story in themselves. Each title refers to the main theme of the chapter. Sometimes the titles contradict one another. For example: Enemies & Friends. But the titles from the example can be seen as O’Brien giving the reader both sides to a coin.

He then includes the chapter How to tell a good war story, when ironically, this book is a war story. Details like organization can often be viewed as small or insignificant. But if you pay attention to the small details, they can help you understand the book a little more and also see the intentions of the author. The chapters of the book tell a story, about a story. And a detail like that is what makes this book more interesting.

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186

Death in The Things They Carried

April 28, 2020 by Essay Writer

Death has many different effects on a person’s life. Some can handle it very well, but most of time, people cannot deal with the grief that comes with the death.For example, some people can accept the death that comes with life and move forward, but on the flip side, some people cannot accept and are stuck in that deep dark hole. many of us cannot Tim O’Brien in The Things They Carried, deals with death in a different way, he writes stories.

However, O’Briens stories are not just about his war experiences, instead the stories talk about how he and the members of his army team dealt with the deaths of their mates and their home life experiences after the war. O’Brien describes this very well. O.Brien’s message about death in The Things They Carried is that death can be worthless and superfluous.

First, death is worthless and superfluous when O’Brien describes the event in which he killed his first man in Vietnam. He begins this story The Man I Killed by vividly describing how the man looks after he killed him with a grenade. O’Brien recalls that the man’s jaw was in is throat, and his upper lip and teeth were gone (79). In the following story, Ambush, O’Brien tells us how he actually killed the man. While his roommate, Kiowa, was sleeping, he saw a man emerge from the fog. Off of instinct, O’Brien reached for his grenade, pulled the plug, and threw it towards the man. The man began to run, but he was not fast enough, and the grenade exploded. The next morning, O’Brien goes to find the body and this is when the worthlessness of death comes in on O’Brien. He soon realizes that, while his mates were making jokes about the body, that he made a mistake. He begins to think to himself if he really did do the right thing. This shows the effects of war on the men. However, Kiowa tries to comfort him by saying Would you rather trade places with him? (80). Still, O’Brien cannot deal with this act that he did and still thinks that death is worthless. This is how death is worthless when O’Brien killed his first man.

Second, death is worthless and superfluous in the death of nine year old Linda. O’Brien talks about his elementary school lover, Linda, in the closing story, The Lives of the Dead. Linda always wore a red cap and a lot of kids in class would make fun of her. O’Brien took Linda out on a movie date and after the movie was over, the young O’brien knew that he just loved her (146). A few days later at school, a kid took of Linda’s hat, revealing that she had very little hair. O’Brien reveals later that Linda died of a brain tumor and she lived through the summer and the first part of September, and then she was dead (152). Even at forty-three years old, O’Brien still imagines Linda in his dreams. This is yet another example of how death is superfluous. Linda was only nine years old and had the best years of her life ahead of her. This a this type of death that everyone hates to read about because why would such a young girl die in an unnecessary way. This is how death is worthless in the death of O’Brien’s elementary school lover Linda.

Last, death is worthless and superfluous in the death of Curt Lemon. Even though O’Brien did not know Lemon the best, it still was a very superfluous way for him to die. While on a break from climbing the mountains, Lemon and his friend, Rat Kiley, started to goof around. The two would always play this game called yellow mother. The object of the game was simple, do not let the smoke grenade go off in your hands. To play the game, one of the two pulls the pin on the smoke grenade and they play catch. Whoever would chicken out would be the mother yellow. If no one called yellow mother, the grenade would make a light popping sound and the two would be covered in smoke and they’d laugh and dance (43). Lemon and Kiley were having when all of sudden, someone stepped on a detonator. O’Brien later tells us that Lemon stepped on a rigged mortar and that is what called the explosion. O’Brien also tells us that he has to clean up and find the limbs and other body parts scattered in the trees. This is yet another example of worthless death. Curt Lemon was just taking a break, having fun with his friend when his life took a turn for the worst. O’Brien explains that this death really hit home with all of his mates. They all realized that war is not a joking matter and that most of the deaths will be worthless and superfluous.

In conclusion, O’Brien views death as being worthless and superfluous. In The Things They Carried, O’Brien explains how death is worthless in a few stories. In these stories, O’Brien deals with the death in his life by writing because it is always better to communicate your feelings in some way rather than bottling them up. At the end of the book, O’Brien says that the dead still live, even if they have died in that worthless way. O’Brien does find relief in writing these stories because it is his way of telling everyone how the Vietnam War truly was. This is how death is worthless and superfluous in The Things They Carried.

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119

The Things They Carried Vietnam War Novel

April 28, 2020 by Essay Writer

The author of this novel, O’Brien recounts his experiences from the Vietnam war. Joining the war was a battle in itself for O’Brien, as after receiving his draft notice in June of 1968, he almost fled because he was so opposed to the war itself. O’Brien describes himself as “too good for this war, too smart, too compassionate”.

This was an later realized flaw of the Vietnam war, lasting roughly 20 years, that of it’s questionable purpose. One of the main issues raised in this personal perspective novel is the act of peer pressure and embarrassment regarding the war. This is shown best in this quote from O’Brien near the start of the book – They carried the soldier’s greatest fear, which was the fear of blushing. Men killed, and died, because they were embarrassed not to. It was what had brought them to the war in the first place, nothing positive, no dreams of glory or honor, just to avoid the blush of dishonor. They died so as not to die of embarrassment. Within this chapter of the book, O’Brien explains the emotional baggage that the soldiers carry, whilst risking their lives for their country. O’Brien suggests that a barely hidden coward is common within the soldiers. He explores the idea that men go to war not to be heroes for their country, but to avoid embarrassment. They are almost forced, due to the cowardly stereotype that accompanies not enlisting.

These ideas are further strengthened early in the novel, within a particularly prominent chapter On The Rainy River, O’Brien has fled his hometown and made it to a lodge just before the Canadian border. Here he resides for 6 days in total, doing odd jobs for the owner of the lodge, Elroy. On the last day Elroy takes O’Brien to the border of Canada on a “fishing trip” and lets O’Brien silently decide whether he stays or goes. O’Briens inner turmoil is finalized by this quote. In my head I could hear people screaming at me, “traitor”, “turncoat” and “pussy”. He voices that the only thing that stopped him from fleeing the war, was the thought that the people from home would think of him as a coward, ignoring his moral conscience to dodge the patriotic ridicule. Further on in the novel, O’Brien eventually kills a Vietnamese soldier. He seeks the help of his fellow soldiers, especially Kiowa, who helps him rationalize this act by saying no sweat man, what else could you do. By highlighting the normalcy of his action with a casual tone, Kiowa is implying that killing is the right thing to do. O’Brien uses this rationalization to suggest that the soldiers commit acts of murder mostly in a simple reaction to peer pressure, therefore alluding to the fact that their greatest fear is not that of taking a life, but of embarrassment.

I can relate to O’Briens perspective personally, as there are many instanced in life where I have felt pressured into undertaking social norms so to avoid feeling outcast. One major example that I have most recently fallen victim to, is the act of attending college. In my home country of England, work placements and apprenticeships are just as viable and popular options to graduating young adults. However here in America I have felt such a large pressure from society to not only get into college, but a well respected, higher level name such as UCLA or Berkley. Often people use this as a platform for judgement, evoking feelings of shame and embarrassment for those such as myself who in fact could not attend such schools. The shame may pass but the guilt goes deeper, making it a much harder feeling to shake. Many feel that this is the only way to attain respect from employers and colleagues, which is a completely unfair assumption as one may hold great potential but have chosen a different or more financially convenient path in life- therefore being subject to bias and a negative social subconscious.

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