The Things They carried




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The Things they carried

            The Things They carried by Tim O’Brien narrated in first and third person is a book about American soldiers in the Vietnam war. In great thoughts, the author brings into light on Vietnam War and its legacies. The book compasses of characters that are both figurative and literal and carry heavy emotional and physical burdens. The war affected many physiologically and survivals carried grief, confusion, and guilt. The collection of the O’Brien stories captures readers to comprehend about Vietnam War. The boo account weapons that the soldiers carry both intangible and tangible. The book contains comprehensive information that influences and continues to shape the public memory of the war. This essay is a review that answers the following questions.

  1. 1.      What can historians learn about the Vietnam War and its legacies from the book?

The book presents war memoir and exhausts its presentation by creating fictional protagonist that shares the narrator name. Throughout the book, the author highlights the series of events of men whom he served and highlights memories of his service into Vietnam War. His writing captures the legacy of the Vietnam War as well narrates stories of men who fought, departed as a result of the war. In the introductory, the author describes Lt. Jimmy as an ill-equipped and inexperienced director of the Alpha Company and later accounts how both spent an afternoon recalling those who died after the war (O’Brien 5). The War affected those in battle and on the veterans that fought for the America from 1950s to 1970s. The chemical used during the war had undesirable health effects on the veterans attributed by the exposure of the Agent Orange and other herbicides.

The book gives an account of American soldiers who carried many things from their homes. For instance, Lieutenant Jimmy Cross carried letters from his lover Martha whom he often daydreamed about her, and this distracted him from his duties as a soldier (O’Brien 5). Most men in the platoon carried objected that defined their personalities. For example, Henry Dobbins carries extra food and Dave Jensen carries toothbrush and soap for the disease prevention. Sanders Mitchell carries condoms, Norma Bowker a diary, and Rat Kiley a comic book. In this case, the author creates a platform to understand different personalities of soldiers who carry as much as they can during the war for protection and entertainment.

O’Brien recalls his friend’s death and his fellow soldier Kiowa with whom he had a strong connection. He describes Kiowa, as a soft-spoken American and the scene of his death becomes the basis of the novel’s vignettes. This creates intense feelings of the challenges encountered by American soldiers during Vietnam War. The majority of soldiers death occurred on the first six months as many died from common diseases such as dysentery, trench foot, and ad malaria. It was extremely difficult for soldiers to survive in that of the 3, 000, 000 soldiers over 58, 000 died and many injured. Many experienced harsh mental conditions and almost a quarter of them diagnosed from stress disorder. O’Brien describes the Bowker’s difficult in adapting to the civilian after the War and his wish to see a documented story of the Vietnam War.

Conclusively, the book outline that there can be no generalizing of the way since the truth is horrible (O’Brien 82). Being in the midst of the war creates confusion and worry due to the traumatic effect brought by the war. Throughout the book, the author highlights the impact of the war on soldiers and people all over the World. From the book, one grasps the concept that, the Vietnam resulted to loss of lives and resources. As mentioned earlier, soldiers encountered challenges in their attempt to end the war. With this in mind, this remarkable book outlays the legacy of the Vietnam War and its effects.

  1. How has the accounts from the book influenced and continue to shape public memory of the war

Following the above analysis, the account of this book continues to influence and shape the public memory of the war by exploring information that relate to the effect of the war. With no doubt, the book lays a strong foundation to articulate the immerse effects of the War to the soldiers and other people. The introductory of the book captures readers’ attention to grasp on the psychological effects brought by the war. The war traumatized many and those who survived carried grief, confusion, and guilt. For instance, Jimmy cross discloses to O’Brien that he is guilt for Ted Lavender’s death while Norman Bowker fear driving aimlessly on his hometown. O’Brien shares how Bowker inspired him to write a letter explaining the effect of the war. These collections of stories create an understanding of the danger of War, which in turn continues to shape the public on the memory of the war. From this book, one comprehends the effects of war thus; discourages many from initiating war. Now, this continues to influence the public on the memory of the war in the sense that, the book underlines series of events that took place during and after the Vietnam War. For instance, the preparation of soldiers prior to the War, challenges encountered by American Soldiers and its effect on the loss of lives and properties. In this regard, the book documents a great lesson to the public on the series of war events and their outcomes.

Typically, the narrator chronicles platoon’s life in Vietnam, highlighting their emotion, death, and dark humor. O’Brien narrates a tale that is exemplary war memoir. The author felt the need to explain why America went to Vietnam War arguing that, it was for an endeavor to maintain their colonial power. They were involved because they desired to eradicate the spread of communism. The war attributed to the loss of lives and ruined properties thus; becoming an expression memory of the War. This information is essential for it dismisses the U.S participation in the War. The narrator gives readers an opportunity to comprehend the United States contribution in the war explaining challenging moments that the soldiers encountered. O’Brien objective is to stimulate readers on the soldier’s experience in the war, thus creating a platform to articulate war related issues. Often, literature is a tool used to understand the history of post-war moment. The book highlights how Veterans struggled for recognition to air the problems of post-traumatic disorder and guilt that many veterans suffered. The book highlights Veterans such as, John Delvecchio, Al Santoli, and Tim O’Brien who maintained public discourse of the war (O’Brien 30). In this context, the book shapes public memory of the U.S involvement of the war.







Work cited

O’Brien, Tim. The Things They Carried. Collins, 1990. Print.



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