The Things They Carried Book Review
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The Things They Carried
The Vietnam War can be simply termed as the only war Americans lost. The author of The Things They Carried, Tim O’brien served in this particularly extensive Cold War confrontation (O’Brien). It is a vivid narrative of the emotional wars each army personnel had to face regardless of the harsh reality during combat. This short essay offers a short discussion on what soldiers carried, Jimmy’s love for Martha as well as other metaphors employed therein.
The soldiers in the narrative carried things necessary for survival in the battle ground as well as petty items that allowed them to confront the personal battles in their heads. For instance, the Lieutenant possessed photographs of a lady he desired to see again after the war. Dobbins always ensured he had extra rations, Jensen carried foot powder, Kiowa had a hunting machete and Bowker carried a personal diary (O’Brien).
Jimmy always finds time to gaze photographs of a lady he was acquainted to and communicated with via letters once in a blue moon (O’Brien). He was the platoon leader but at times his thoughts got completely lost in daydreaming about Martha. It was a kind of love that can only be described as foolish love since it disconnected his mind from the task at hand. He broke up the fairy love imaginations after he understood the need to focus on the task before him because failure to do so would mean he never met Martha after the war (O’Brien).
It seems that the war really scares the soldiers but they all attempt to make light of the situation (O’Brien). They use jokes to find something to laugh about in a volatile warzone. The weight borne by soldiers is of a physical and emotional nature. Physical weight is important to fighting the war though the emotional weight carried tended to adversely affect their determination to win the war. As the story concludes, Jimmy awakes to the fact that he has to live a day at a time if he is to survive the war and opts to lose his emotional garbage as well as encourage the same among the men.
O’Brien Tim. The Things They Carried. Web.archive.org. N.d, http://web.archive.org/web/20011222025122/www.nku.edu/~peers/thethingstheycarried.htm, Accessed 20 Jan. 2017.
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