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The Things They Carried, Literary Analysis


The Things They Carried, Literary Analysis

Connor Bickford Prof Guy ENC1102 A1 7 Mar 2013 Literary Analysis of “The Important Things They Carried” “The Things They Brought” by Tim O’Brien portrays a squad of soldiers serving in the Vietnam War. The Vietnam War was fought throughout the 1960/70’s in the country of Vietnam. It was an unusually harsh war and numerous veterans suffered for many years after from their terrible experiences. The author informs of all the important things they brought from weapons to the emotional concern of wartime. Brief memories are recalled, and insights to the characters are established as whatever the soldiers brought are exposed.

The author tells stories of a lot of the soldiers missions and experiences. The Author effectively uses the components of fiction: tone, style, and importance to assist the reader understand the soldiers hardships in the Vietnam War. Tim O’Brien uses the tone of the story to improve the view of the challenges the soldiers dealt with. Throughout the story a soldier called Ted Lavender is discussed. He was eliminated by an opponent and his death is spoken about typically. The author uses a cold, unemotional tone to make Ted Lavender’s death a common topic.

O’Brien composes on page 347,” But Ted Lavender, who was scared, carried thirty-four rounds when he was shot in the head outside Than Ke, and he decreased under an exceptional problem … He was dead weight. There was no twitching or flopping.” The flatness revealed by the author is used to reveal the difficulties on the soldiers mental state. Another discussing of Lavenders death states, “… prior to Lavender died,. “(O’Brien 348), and another states, “After the chopper that took Lavender away, Lieutenant Jimmy Cross led his men into the village of Than Ke. They burned whatever. (O’Brien 353) In reaction to the Vietnamese soldiers shooting Ted, the soldiers get what they call vengeance. They eliminated everybody in the village and burned it to the ground. This gruesome writing helps portray the tone the author used, cold and dark. The death of Ted Lavender was made to be almost conversational, something to be talked about, however in truth the soldiers were just so hardened by death and their savage lives in the forests of Vietnam that the death of Ted Lavender didn’t effect them like a “typical” person. The design the author uses helps depict the reality of the difficulties in Vietnam.

His style is more repeated and conversational. In Ted Lavender’s case the author repeatedly brings him up throughout the story. O’Brien does this in order to reveal the reader that the soldiers still believed and talked about him frequently even after his passing. The author’s use of conversationalist style is shown in the passage,” Lee Strunk made a funny ghost noise, a sort of groaning, yet really delighted, and best then, when Strunk made that high happy groaning noise, when he went Ahhooooo, best then Ted Lavender was shot in the head on his method back from peeing.

He lay with his mouth open. The teeth were broken. There was a swollen black swelling under his left eye. The cheekbone was gone. Oh shit, Rat Kiley said, the guys dead. I suggest really. “(O’Brien 351) The conversational design utilized by the author helps bring to life how the soldiers really dealt with these difficult times, and how they tried their hardest to stay positive throughout the war. The passage reveals the soldiers finally enjoying and commemorating survival of a mission, then Lavender is shot.

The dialogue goes from happy back to the harsh text of “Oh shit, the guys dead”. The style of composing widespread in “The important things They Carried” assists to truly let the reader comprehend the brutal and awful difficulties the soldiers faced in Vietnam. The most crucial component of fiction utilized by the author is symbolism. “The Important Things They Brought” is full of symbols that really assist the reader comprehend the emotion of the soldiers and how they felt under all the tension and chaos of war.

An example of this is seen when the author composes, “In the first week of April, before Lavender passed away, Lieutenant Jimmy Cross received a good-luck charm from Martha. It was an easy pebble, an ounce at most. Smooth to the touch, it was a milky-white color with flecks of orange and violet, oval-shaped, like a mini egg … She composed that she had found the pebble on the Jersey shoreline, exactly where the land touched water at high tide where things came together however likewise separated.

It was this separate-but-together quality, she composed, that had actually motivated her to choose it up and to bring it in her breast pocket for several days, where it seemed weightless, and after that to send it through the mail, by air, as a token of her truest feelings for him.” (O’Brien 348) This pebble begins as a sign for Martha’s feelings for Lt. Cross, but ends up being more than that. While the pebble is a sign of Marthas sensations, it is likewise a symbol of Lt. Cross’s emotional/mental state. The pebble is always with Lt. Cross and he constantly keeps it in his mouth.

This pebble is continuously moving around being rolled and tumbled and put from location to location, and all these motions demonstrate how out of balance and jumbled Lt. Cross is mentally. Another symbol is the real things they brought. A quote from the story states,” What they carried was partially a function of rank, partially a field of specialized. As a first lieutenant and platoon leader, Jimmy Cross brought a compass, maps, code books, binoculars, and a. 45 quality pistol that weighed 2. 9 pounds fully packed. He brought a strobe light and the duty for the lives of his males.

As an RTO, Mitchell Sanders carried the PRC-25 radio, a killer, twenty six pounds with its battery.” (O’Brien 346) While what they carry and the weight of what they brought is seen typically, the important things they brought likewise have a deeper meaning. Each man bore a psychological burden on top of what they brought. The author consists of the description and weights to give a deeper significance to more than weapons and equipment. They brought the weight of their lives, their other soldiers, and the big burden of knowing they too could pass away any minute.

The importance referencing the mental concerns, and the importance for the frame of mind of a soldier discovered in the story play a major part in comprehending the difficulties the soldiers faced in Vietnam, by giving them a deeper meaning that reveals the frame of mind of the soldiers. “The Important Things They Carried”, by Tim O’Brien shows readers the extreme and cold truths of a soldier in the Vietnam War. Soldiers passed away and things had to keep moving. The cold unemotional tone set for this story plays an essential function in boosting the difficulties the soldiers faced on a day to day basis.

The repetitive and conversational style the author utilized truly helped to understand the characters of the story and how they were feeling, or not feeling. Meaning in the narrative was likewise used to deepen the meaning of the things they brought and intensify their hardships. The author utilized these aspects of fiction to effectively communicate the message that the soldiers faced major tough times during the Vietnam War and there was more to it than carrying a great deal of products.

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