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The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien Essay


The Red Badge of Nerve, by Stephen Crane, and The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien, are 2 novels set a century apart, yet they both link to one another. Tim O’Brien’s novel illustrates his experience in the Vietnam War, while Stephen Crane’s unique demonstrates his experience in the Civil War. These two books focus on the image one gives himself while entering into the war and image one gets going out of it, whether one makes it out alive or gets consumed by it.

In these two novels the principle of being a “coward” made a huge consider the method they state themselves. Both Henry Fleming from, The Red Badge of Guts, and Tim O’Brien from The Things They Carried, had a different reason for considering themselves a coward. Tim O’Brien was drafted to the Vietnam War, a war which he didn’t believe in, nor wished to take part. He left everything behind and was on the verge of leaving to Canada. He didn’t wish to lose everything behind, his household, his friends, and his house.

Tim wished to be brave, leave everything and get away so he would not take part in the war, but that wasn’t the case. “I would go to the war– I would kill and possibly pass away– because I was humiliated not to.” It wasn’t fear or morality that Tim had, he simply couldn’t leave everything behind and flee. “I was a coward. I went to war.” In Henry’s case, he employed to the war. He wished to be hero in this war, like he had constantly envisioned. Soon he realized that all he was, was a pawn on a chess board. He was a simple soldier. Once things got hard in the 2nd fight he remained in, he left. Henry couldn’t get the image of himself as a coward. All he was a coward, for getting away.

Henry had all this regret inside him, for fleeing and lying about a phony battle scare he had actually got. When he lastly regrouped with his team they came across a little battle. Attempting to press back the enemy, soldier after soldier kept shooting their rifle including Henry. Henry had got taken in into the battle, reloading then firing. He duplicated this even when the enemy had actually currently gotten away. “He lost sense of whatever however his hate, his desire to smash into pulp the glittering smile of success which he could feel upon the faces of his opponents.” Henry was consumed in the moment of fight, shooting excitedly at his opponents. After this small fight, the lieutenant called him a “war devil.”

While in the other unique, Mary Anne, a 17 year old lady, was brought into the war zone. She stuck with her sweetheart Mark Fossie. She would roam around the woods, captivated by the nature. Gradually she wasn’t even recognizable, with her pendant of human tongue. She was no longer that innocent woman that had initially came to the war. “She had crossed to the other side. She belonged to the land.” There are different methods for which one might get taken in by war. For Mary Anne, she turned into one with the land.

There are things and feeling that go on though war, that a person would just go through or feel in war. Both Henry and Tim saw deaths throughout the novel, whether they knew the individual or not. War actually alters an individual, psychologically and physically. One would go into war with a clear image of himself and come out of the war with another.

These two novels show how war alters the image you provide yourself, whether you get consumed by war or make it out alive. Both Henry Fleming and Tim O’Brien needed to go through challenges, altering the way they see themselves and the way others see them. These novels might be set a century apart, but they link in numerous methods.

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