Reaction to “The Important Things They Brought” by Tim O’Brien
In The Important Things They Brought, Tim O’Brien uses a variety of stories to describe the life experiences that he and much of his fellow soldiers sustained during a single year in Vietnam. He tells these stories in a manner that we can link to these experiences. We never ever spent time in Vietnam, however O’Brien desires us to feel like we were there. O’Brien utilizes what he calls “story-truth” to compose these stories. The outcome or individuals may be various however the sensation is real; that’s the truth in the story, the feeling. He wants us to feel what he felt, see what he saw.
He doesn’t simply inform us what was occurring precisely; he informs a fictional story that conveys the very same emotion. He plays with the truth, that’s the reason that this book is a work of fiction. The stories might not be genuine but they are based upon what the soldiers were feeling during that year in Vietnam. This experimenting with the fact is what makes the soldiers doubtful of what is true and what isn’t. They see things in a different way as they are happening. They know what is occurring at that point in time but their mind sees it in a various lighting.
O’Brien tells a story about a fellow soldier killed by a land mine. His name was Curt Lemon. He and another soldier were playing catch with a smoke grenade and Lemon takes a half step too far and steps on the ground mine. However, that’s not how O’Brien sees it. He sees Lemon step out from the dark tree canopy and into the sunlight. The sunshine appears to carry him up into the tree and he vanishes. O’Brien calls it stunning. There’s nothing beautiful about a male being eliminated however that’s how he saw it. That’s how his mind saw it. Throughout the war a soldier can get so utilized to death and killing.
Possibly by just seeing it take place so typically that they begin to review it and see the beauty in it. This is what the soldiers see then in that moment but when they return and recover that memory they do not understand what is true and what isn’t real. The war has impacted their mind and the way they perceived these experiences. Reality and fiction have actually integrated and the story about what happened might not be true but the feeling that it communicates is. O’Brien has an odd definition of guts. He sees himself as being courageous by running away to Canada and overlooking his draft notification.
He didn’t think in the war, he was ‘too good for the war; too wise, too compassionate’. By not supporting a war that he seemed to be ineffective and escaping from his fate he thinks that is courage. Nevertheless, in his story about the choice he made on the Rainy River he calls himself a coward. The boat was twenty yards far from a possible life of liberty from the war, twenty yards far from being a courageous hero. Tim griped the boat and tried to leap out however he couldn’t move; a ‘paralysis of the heart’ prevented him from swimming to Canada.
He had a sort of hallucination and a crowd of people appeared, just to watch him. They yelled at him and called him repulsive names just because he was picking to not participate in the war. He couldn’t take the humiliation any longer. He chose at that minute to go to war. He called himself a coward for fighting. I agree with him in a manner, however. It was due to the reality that he knew then, on that river, that he wasn’t able to range from his fate. He was never ever going to be the hero that he wanted. He never ever had the nerve to break away. He was a coward.
Supporting the nerve theme, I don’t think O’Brien thinks about himself as brave either. He understands that being willing to go to war and die so that he will not be humiliated does not make him brave. He wants to be truly brave and defend what he believes in. He truly thinks that fighting in Vietnam is incorrect. He wishes to flee and not join the war because he thinks that to be the best thing to do. Worry and pity hold him back, however. He fears humiliation. He does not wish to be called a coward, so he fights.
Even as he’s composing this book, he sees this as useless cowardice. He isn’t brave at all. Likewise, the only act of eliminating O’Brien has experienced, apparently, wasn’t level of bravery. He didn’t “eliminate” the male because he remained in danger; he did it because he was terrified. He was a coward. He tells us in the chapter “Ambush” that he ‘remained in no real hazard’ and ‘the boy would’ve passed him by’. He knew that he wasn’t in threat however he “eliminated” the male anyway because that’s what you were expected to do in war; you were expected to eliminate. He wasn’t being brave; he was providing into the concept of war.
He was doing something that he didn’t believe in. The Vietnam War had a life changing result on the soldiers, consisting of O’Brien. They came into the war as young boys as young as seventeen and left either in body bags made of their own poncho or they came out alive. But were they ever truly alive? No, they had their innocence removed. They weren’t young kids any longer. Their young selves were eliminated out because jungle and all that was left was a carcass of gruesome memories of the tragedy of war, the deaths of their fellow soldiers. They changed as individuals.
O’Brien entered into the war as a boy against war. A young soul believing that the Vietnam War was wrong and there was no requirement for combating or killing. Nevertheless, toward the end of the book he informs us the story of how he got vengeance on a fellow soldier. This soldier, while in the middle of war, took too long in treating O’Brien for a bullet injury and likewise ought to have treated him for shock. O’Brien almost passes away on the field however luckily returns to consciousness. So, for the trouble that the soldier, Bobby Jorgenson, had actually put O’Brien though, he was going to get his vengeance.
O’Brien and another soldier, Azar, designed a plan to scare Jorgenson to death. The strategy was a success however O’Brien didn’t get the fulfillment that he wanted. He recognized while the strategy remained in full swing that he had actually changed as an individual. He became some strange man who enjoyed violence. He ended up being a guy who didn’t understand the meaning of the words ‘wrong’ or ‘vicious’. He even compared himself to the horror of Vietnam. He was the war now, he was a changed male, and not for the much better. O’Brien tells a story that was once informed to him by a fellow soldier named Bob “Rat” Kiley.
The story is about a young girl called, Mary Anne Bell. She came by to Vietnam from the states to cope with her sweetie, Mark Fossie. She came to Vietnam as a girl fresh out of high school. Nevertheless, she does not remain that way. She begins discovering the ropes of being a soldier, dressing like a soldier, imitating a soldier. She gets curious one day and decides to sign up with the Green Berets on among their night objectives. She is chosen the whole night and Fossie is worried sick. He is losing his innocent little high school woman to Vietnam.
Weeks later, Fossie is sitting out in front of the Green Beret’s sleeping quarters listening to the sound of Mary Anne’s singing voice. He can’t take not seeing his sweetheart much longer. He slips through the entrance and falls to his knees when he sees Mary Anne. She is no longer the young high school girl he understood and enjoyed. She is a soldier now and she is using a necklace made from the tongues of Vietnamese people. She has actually changed totally. Vietnam has actually taken her over. The odd thing is Mary Anne is just a story. A story about what Vietnam does to you. Mary Anne is every boy that is forced into the draft.
They all pertain to war as practically kids and they are gotten and thrown around by the war. Their innocence is drawn from them. They are altered completely. The war would drive the soldiers crazy, too. Rat Kiley was among them. The army was purchased to just go on missions in the evening. This didn’t go well for many males, particularly Rat Kiley. The ‘Night Life’ as the soldiers called it, drove Kiley nuts. He stopped sleeping throughout the daytime hours, he could not. He started thinking of the dead bodies all the time. He even started to begin thinking of what alive and well soldiers would look like dead.
He thought about the weight of the organs of the body. The strangest aspect of him, though, he wasn’t bothered by these ideas. They didn’t frighten him. Nevertheless, during the ‘Night Life’ he would see these images and nothing else. He even began to imagine himself. He drove himself crazy and shortly after he shot himself in the foot and was brought off in a helicopter, far from the extremely place that made him insane. Through making use of what Tim O’Brien calls “story-truth” he puts us in his shoes and he reveals us the life of an American soldier in Vietnam.
He tells us these imaginary stories that pluck our heartstrings however they make us feel how he felt. We are with the soldiers there in Vietnam enjoying them alter from the boys they when were into soldiers robbed of their youth. We experience what they went through, the death and violence. We bring the regret and memories that they do. We bring the guilt of not conserving a fellow soldier, the shame, the wishing to be brave enough. We experience all this and more with the aid of Tim O’Brien and his “story-truth”.