“The Important Things They Brought” Analysis Paper
The Important Things They Brought analysis paper Themes in The Things They Carried “In a story, which is a sort of dreaming, the dead in some cases smile and sit up and go back to the world,” composes Tim O’brien in his novel The Things They Brought (225 ). Throughout the story, O’Brien goes over themes such as death, the loss of innocence, and truth. Not only does O’Brien effectively thematically connect his final story “The Lives of the Dead” to the rest of his book, he also develops a “real war story,” according to his description.
In “The Lives of the Dead,” O’Brien goes over the death of his youth sweetheart Linda, the deaths of his associates in Vietnam, and the deaths of those he saw killed during the dispute. He goes over the deaths in Vietnam throughout the unique and, in the last chapter, brings them all together and connects them to the first departed individual he ever saw- Linda. Using writing as a technique to deal with death, he recognizes that he can keep people alive through his memories of them. Knowing that he can utilize the “spell of memory and creativity” (245) to maintain the lives of those who have actually passed away, O’Brien gives them their lives back.
This is a major style throughout the novel, however especially in the final chapter. O’Brien likewise goes over the senselessness of death, primarily through his informing of the death of Linda, in the last chapter, and Curt Lemon, in the chapter “How to Tell a True War Story.” Lemon’s death affected O’Brien a good deal because “he was playing catch with Rat Kiley, laughing, and then he was dead” (78)– without any warning or buildup. Linda is likewise referred to as being alive one moment and dead the next. This sort of death impacts an individual more since it is unanticipated, catching an individual off guard and unprepared.
Linda’s death when O’Brien was only 9 years of ages coincides with his very first loss of innocence in concerns to death. Seeing Linda’s body, he states that it “didn’t appear real” (241 ). This is when he began his coping strategy of enlivening the dead. He utilized this method again in Vietnam after seeing a male die by methods of a tossed grenade. Developing a life story for the male, such as how he “prayed with his mom that the war might end quickly,” (127) O’Brien gives humankind to what numerous soldiers merely thought of as ‘the enemy.’ Another example of this is when the soldiers propped a remains “up versus a fence … and talked with him” (227 ).
This action helped them to avoid the reality of death during a war. The battle to discover what actually happened and what did not is an essential part of the novel. O’Brien talks about the difficulty of understanding what is the truth throughout the book and, in the last chapter, he discusses how he can pretend individuals are still alive in his dreams. The theme of truth is raised in the book by using descriptions to develop a sense of uncertainty. For example, in “The Man I Eliminated,” O’Brien talks about information he could never actually understand about the young Vietnamese soldier, such as how he wanted to be a “teacher of mathematics” (125 ).
In “The Lives of the Dead,” he discusses how his memory of Linda is fading and how she has actually become “primarily comprised” (245) in his mind. Because the reader is not sure what to believe, she approaches each brand-new story with a tip of doubt. In his book, O’Brien describes a true war story, and after that produces one in his writing. Among the credentials is that the “truths are inconsistent” (80 ). Throughout the book, the soldiers both humanize the dead by talking with them and dehumanize the dead by, for instance, describing a burned body as a “crunchie munchie” (239 ).
In concerns to Linda, her death is a contradiction in itself. It is a shock when a nine years of age girl, who must have lots of life and energy, drops dead of cancer. “A true war story is never about war” (85) is another credentials for a true war story listed by O’Brien. This is the main reason that The important things They Carried can be thought about a real war story. It has to do with death, life, and the awareness that those who are dead never actually leave us, however, instead, live on in a person’s memory or, as in this case, immortalized in a book.
Regardless of informing a plethora of tales in the novel, O’Brien links them all with common styles. Exploring the themes of death, reality, and innocence, he constructs a story that is engaging and, sometimes, as gruesome as the scaries of war that he explains. For O’Brien, composing is like treatment to help him handle death, and, through his stories, he keeps individuals he understood alive both for himself and for his readers. Functions Pointed Out O’Brien, Tim. The Important Things They Brought. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1990. Print.