The Things They Brought: Norman Bowker
Jeremey Hansen Mrs. Smith December 10, 2013 Formality English III Norman Bowker “You can’t patch an injured soul with a Band-Aid.” Within a war, there are two battles fought: the battle inside each specific soldier, and then what is actual done on the battleground. These internal and external conflicts are equally harmful, the only distinction in between the 2 is that when the physical engagement is over, the gruesome fight with in the soldiers stays. War leaves numerous mental scars on anyone who takes part in it: regret, anxiety, anxiety, fear, or trauma.
In the unique The important things They Carried, written by Tim O’Brien, the author paints a portrait in the readers mind of all the truths of the war atrocities. O’Brien tells a various narrative each chapter about characters and all the struggles and hard encounters they deal with. Each character carries 3 things during the war. The first thing the soldiers bring is the physical products needed for survival: M-16, M-60, grenades, ammunition, and so on. The 2nd thing they bring are personal items such as pebbles, comics, girlfriend’s pantyhose, etc.
. The final thing each soldier brings are the psychological burdens of the war, figuratively the heaviest and worst thing to carry. Tim O’Brien utilizes the character Norman Bowker to display the emotional weight that the war places on soldiers and soldier’s failure to accept the past. In the chapter “Mentioning Courage,” Norman Bowker grieves over how he did not win the Silver Star medal. It’s not the physical medal that Norman is upset about not winning due to the fact that he has actually won seven other medals prior to that. Norman is upset since of what the medal reveals what Norman stopped working to do, conserve Kiowa.
This guilt weakens Norman in a manner that he can’t express or tell anyone. Norman repeatedly drives around the lake in the town considering who would listen to his stories. He makes efforts to inform numerous individuals however never ever can. “There was absolutely nothing to say. He could not talk about it, and never ever would” (O’Brien 167). When Norman goes to an A dining establishment the individual on the intercom is finally willing to listen to what ever Norman has to state. Norman can’t sum up the courage to tell the individual though. Bowker states the war dominated his nerve.
Even if anybody listens to Bowker, they would not of been able to understand the reality of war since, “Oftentimes a real war story can not be thought” (O’Brien 80). On Norman’s eleventh time around the lake, he envisions himself speaking with his dad about the Silver Star he must have made. Norman’s father was really accepting in the fact that Norman let Kiowa go in to the field of “shit” however he will never ever comprehend the significance of not earning that medal. After the war is over, Bowker is still grieving and is having a tough time facing truth.
When Norman returns home, the genuine war versus truth is simply starting. Bowker is a best illustration of how most soldiers feel when they go back home. They feel like a needle in a haystack. Some people thought the war was a dreadful concept so these people felt a particular hatred to soldiers who fought in it, even if battling wasn’t their option. Likewise, soldiers saw and did things that can’t be taken back. They have the guilt of killing individuals on their shoulders, they have actually seen death of close friends and they have been through the worst conditions of their lives.
Soldiers get mentally and physically damaged when they are in the field. Norman is symbolic of the isolation that soldiers feel when they return house. “The important things exists’s no place to go. Not simply in this lousy town. In general. My life, I indicate. It’s nearly like I got eliminated over in Nam … Hard to explain. That night when Kiowa got lost, I sort of sank down into the sewage with him … Seems like I’m still in deep shit'” (O’Brien 170). Norman just could not adjust to reality after what had occurred in Nam. Eight months later on, Norman Bowker hanged himself at a YMCA.
Something that O’Brien would say about how he overcame the war was by writing. He also says that the best method to get over the past is to retell it so you can discover to accept the cruelty and seriousness of it. Norman’s failure to tell people about the war is among the crucial aspects to why he was suffering so bad when he returned home. Norman suffered severe trauma and because he kept all of his thoughts to himself and couldn’t get used to society, he wound up taking his life away from all the anxiety and remorse and isolation that the war triggered.
Tim’s use of Norman Bowker shows the reader how tough it is for soldiers to adapt to society when they return house. Norman Bowker is an ideal example of when soldiers go back to their homes, they fight a bigger war with in themselves than the one the just battled. In order to face your past, you should discuss it and be strong. If you do not wish to face your past you can attempt to simply ignore it or you will end up as Norman, mentally unsteady with an unhappy ending.