The Things They Carried Essay

HTTPS://sullen. Weakly-Perez/1 myself Theme of Tim O’Brien “The Things They Carried” Fear is an underlying theme in “The Things They Carried. ” Lavender, Kiowa, Let. Cross, and the soldiers illustrate different types of fear. Clans Personally Perez B. A. In English Soldiers All the men in Vietnam carried physical burdens, from the packs on their backs to their weapons and ammunition. However, they carried intangible burdens as well. In Tim O’Brien short story, there is an underlying theme of fear because no character can escape It.

Fear Is harbored by all the soldiers, even If they all do their best to hide It, and It becomes more evident as the story progresses. Lavender Lavender is the most obvious of all the characters carrying fear, and he can only deal with it through smoking dope, taking tranquilizer, and carrying extra arms and ammunition. In a way It Is ironic that he carried these extra physical burdens because he died when he did not have immediate fear of an enemy and no urgent thoughts as to protect himself. Kiowa Kiowa is in awe of Lavender’s death because he was the only one to see it happen.

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He and the others realize that death can take them at any time, even when they think they are safe. Kiowa could not get his mind off the event and repeats the story to the other men, revealing his thoughts and fear of death. In order to deal with death, he dehumidifies Lavender by comparing him to cement, thus making death seem less personal. Even though Kiowa is portrayed as not feeling emotions, it is this detachment from death that enables him to hide his fear. Let. Cross Let. Cross doesn’t fear death but of dilapidating and falling to protect his men.

He feels personally responsible for the death of Lavender; he thinks that if he had been paying more attention, Lavender’s death could have been prevented. Because of his ear, he becomes more determined to distance himself from the men and be more of a leader for them. Like Kiowa, he will not show his fear; Let. Cross wants to be strong for his men so they can have someone to depend on. Everyone Else All the soldiers were afraid of going to battle primarily because of the fear of dying. They killed others not because of vengeance or self-defense, but because they wanted to hide their fear from their friends.

When a battle ended, they tried to make themselves seem more masculine by joking about what happened. This helps alleviate their tension and show others (and even themselves) that, in retrospect, it as not so scary. None of the soldiers want to look like a coward, regardless of how they felt. They did anything they could to make themselves seem brave even though the fear still lingered in their hearts. Fear of death was the common bond between all the soldiers in the Vietnam War. The foot soldiers trudged forward through battles for fear of looking Like cowards. Let.

Cross Is unique In that It was not a fear of death that made him strive forward, but the fear of letting his men down when needed the most. Though every man dealt 1 OFF Tim O’Brien ran the underlying theme of fear throughout this story to truly capture he emotions of American soldiers in their time of trepidation. Spark notes O’Brien personal experience shows that the fear of being shamed before one’s peers is a powerful motivating factor in war. His story “On the Rainy River” explains his moral quandary after receiving his draft notice-?he does not want to fight in a war he believes is unjust, but he does not want to be thought a coward.

What keeps O’Brien from fleeing into Canada is not patriotism or dedication to his country’s cause -?the traditional motivating factors for fighting in a war-?but concern over what his family and community will think of him if he doesn’t fight. This experience is emblematic of the conflict, explored throughout The Things They Carried, between the misguided expectations of a group of people important to a character and that character’s uncertainty regarding a proper course of action. Fear of shame not only motivates reluctant men to go to Vietnam but also affects soldiers’ relationships with each other once there.

Concern about social acceptance, which might seem in the abstract an unimportant preoccupation given the immediacy of death and necessity of group unity during war, leads O’Brien characters to engage in absurd or dangerous actions. For example, Curt Lemon decides to have a perfectly good tooth pulled (in “The Dentist”) to ease his shame about having fainted during an earlier encounter with the dentist. The stress of the war, the strangeness of Vietnam, and the youth of the soldiers combine to create psychological dangers that intensify the inherent risks of fighting.

Jimmy Cross, who has gone to war only because his friends have, becomes a confused and uncertain leader who endangers the lives of his soldiers. O’Brien uses these characters to show that fear of shame is a misguided but unavoidable motivation for going to war. Sparks Subjection of Truth to Storytelling By giving the narrator his own name and naming the rest of his characters after the men he actually fought alongside in the Vietnam War, O’Brien blurs the distinction between fact and fiction. The result is that it is impossible to know whether or not any given event in the stories truly happened to O’Brien.

He intentionally heightens this impossibility when his characters contradict themselves several times in the collection of stories, rendering the truth of any statement suspect. O’Brien aim in blending fact and fiction is to make the point that objective truth of a war story is less elevate than the act of telling a story. O’Brien is attempting not to write a history of the Vietnam War through his stories but rather to explore the ways that speaking about war experience establishes or fails to establish bonds between a soldier and his audience.

The technical facts surrounding any individual event are less important than the overarching, subjective truth of what the war meant to soldiers and how it changed them. Especially, in addition to O’Brien-?work to lay out war’s ugly truths, which are so profound that they require neither facts nor long explanations. Such statements as This is true,” which opens “How to Tell a True War Story,” do not establish that the events recounted in the story actually occurred. Rather, they indicate that the stylistic and thematic content of the story is true to the experience that the soldiers had in the war.

This truth is often ugly, in contrast to the ideas of glory and heroism associated with war before Vietnam. In O’Brien “true” war story, Killed writes to Lemon’s sister, and when she never responds, he calls her a “dumb ooze,” only adding to the ugliness of the story. O’Brien declaration that the truest part of this Tory is that it contains no moral underscores the idea that the purpose of stories is to relate the truth of experience, not to manufacture false emotions in their audiences.

Storytelling Magic M Storytelling: Storytelling is an overarching theme of the book as it takes place 20 years after the author, and main character, have returned from the war in Vietnam. Tim O’Brien is telling stories the entire time, and his fellow soldiers are always telling him stories. It is both a way of life in the war as well as out of it. For O’Brien, these stories become his way of coping with what went on during the war, as well as a way o keep those that have died around him alive.

In “Notes,” O’Brien states, “Telling stories seemed a natural, inevitable process, like clearing the throat. Partly catharsis, partly communication, it was a way of grabbing people by the shirt and explaining exactly what had happened to me… ” (p. 157-159). In the last chapter, he claims that telling stories keeps memories of people alive, serving as a place where they can still talk and move. “Often they were exaggerated, or blatant lies, but it was a way of bringing body and soul back together… ” (p. 239).