The Things They Carried By Tim O

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The Things They Carried By Tim O’Brien Essay, Research Paper What did they carry? Was it just their standard issued gear? Was it relics from ?the world?? Or was it something more sinister? Tim O?Brien explores these ideas and many more in his heart stopping, breath taking, uniquely sad but true book, The Things They Carried. O?Brien, a victim of the Vietnam War himself, shares with us stories that he endured while in the ?Nam. Moreover, I believe that this book of his was much more than a collection of stories. I believe this book was not meant to entertain our imagination nor was it written to indulge our fears. Rather, I believe it was a plea to God himself; an apology to the Almighty for the horrors and atrocities committed unto his children through the horror and

brutalities of a relentless, and ever bloody war. O?Brien immediately feeds us insight into the belongings of a grunt. Everything from P-38?s to stolen soap, to the exact weights of each item. He also forges ahead with the memories of his comrades, or the lack thereof. He lures us into a realm that equates to summer camp where the new children are tormented with the loss of their family, and can only dream about being reunited with them. This world abruptly changes into a living, breathing, outlandish hell. At the peak of the many climaxes intwined in the many different stories, I felt anxious, but often times, I felt uncomfortable. Something didn?t seem right. Something didn?t add up. I think that the one thing that each character carried, although it was never formerly

introduced, was that sad over-powering emotion known as guilt. Mark Fossie felt the bitter end of guilt. Even Rat Kiley felt a guilt that very few can experience. I shoulder the hunch that Mark Fossie?s guilt lies in bringing an innocent girl into a hell that took her and fabricating her into a monster. How content she must have been back in the real world before going to Vietnam. But ?Nam changed the sweet, once innocent beauty into something that cannot be altered back-a savage. The ?Nam brought our her instinct, if you will, of survival and savageness. According to the ?Greenies?, they would often find her daring the impossible, the unimaginable. She proved to those men that sex didn?t matter, and beastly measures could be taken by anyone. How does Rat Kiley?s guilt fit in to

this equation? Kiley had to set back and watch the distasteful transfiguration of the beautiful Mary Anne into a inconceivable brute. O?Brien also carried guilt. O?Brien acquired his guilt near the village of My Khe. As he states, he didn?t kill the young lad that was pressured into the struggle for independence. However, since O?Brien was present when the lad was killed, he claims responsibility. Because he feels responsible, he also feels very guilty. It?s this guilt of responsibility that seems to have a grasp on O?Brien, and will not leave him at ease with himself. More importantly, this book has affected me in a big way. It has altered my perception of the war in Vietnam for I will never view Vietnam in the same light. All the war footage cannot compare to what this book has

done for me. This book has made the Vietnam War very real and very alive to me. It has also enlightened my comprehension of how Vets of the war try to come to grips with the sad realities of everyday flashbacks. This book appears to me as one giant thought. O?Brien has compiled stories that lack the common art of segmenting one idea to another as found in most popular books. It?s this style of writing that, to me, justifies that it is a big thought or flashback. O?Brien continually says that some of the stories are real, some are not. Some might have added embellishments, some might have missing facts. I think O?Brien is sincere in his writing, and is therefore excused from any blame if some truth has been distorted. The place that he described seems like it was in a parallel