Literary Analysis: “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien
O’Brien, in the short story “The Points They Carried”, catches the predicaments associated with soldiers during the Vietnam War. Every soldier has a literal and symbolic subject that links the past to the present. The icons serve to distract the solders from your realities of battle in Vietnam and instead allow thinking about other activities. For Lt. Jimmy Cross, the letter from Martha helps him briefly intercontinental death of which looms over him or her and dream concerning love. Rat Kiley has devoted the time to looking at comedy to give a sense involving security in a place where atrocities are the convention rather than the exception. O’Brien features skillfully blended fictional works and the true to life experience through typically the compelling and highly effective storytelling techniques to be able to capture the seedy realities of your botched military operation.
The primary thought that runs by way of O’Brien short account is the actual and emotional troubles of war. Mcdougal captures his individual story together using the stories involving other war witnesses during this occasion. Each soldier features an object linked to the difficulties he is maintained either morally or perhaps physically. The actual loads could always be military gears or perhaps other stuff that typically the platoon extracted from all those people left at the rear of.
Psychological burdens include the particular terror that lurks around especially in night, the sadness of losing guy soldiers, and some sort of deep desire intended for the family and friends. Dobbins, for instance, offers his lover’s pantyhose. This object could be the only reminder involving his life in the USA with typically the people he adores. It symbolizes a want to escape from typically the current reality involving terror to enjoy and comfort of which his girlfriend may offer.
Lt. Jimmy Cross’ physical burden can be a compass and some sort of map to direct his men throughout the right course. Being the person with the helm, she has to show durability in order that he truly does not demoralize the subordinates. Even though typically the feelings of dread rush up at nighttime, he has to be able to fight them off of to stop making the troops psychologically weak. He carries using him a notification from Martha, the obsession and take pleasure in, but Jimmy is definitely unsure of your ex love for him or her. His train involving thought as they opens Martha’s notification depicts a male hoping for love.
He rummages through the article of paper intended for evidence of Martha’s love but can not find anything asphalt to generate him think it is real. He is dissatisfied that Martha will be reciprocating his really like with mere companionship. O’Brien presents Jimmy Cross’ uncertainty more than Martha’s feelings whenever he writes that will Jimmy “wondered exactly what her truest emotions were, exactly, plus what she designed by separate-but-together” (3). This is representational of the emotional problem that weighed greatly on Jimmy’s coronary heart.
The particular theme of emotional scars run deep still after the battle. Those who endure atrocities at the particular war front place up with upsetting psychological burdens that will take place lengthy after that time period. Jimmy Cross offers to put upward with the solid feelings of sense of guilt because of the particular death of Wyatt Lavender, an other soldier. Norman Bowker can also be experiencing heavy emotional confusion right after the war. O’Brien uses the river to depict Norman’s predicament as well as the fate that awaited your pet (6).
The lake represents the life associated with war that troops are accustomed in order to living. After leaving from your front, this is usually difficult to socialize back in order to the real world. Norman goes round the lake not able to break through its magnetic pull. The lake is also a portrayal of war and death and Norman is unable to break from it but rather enters it. The magnetic pull of the lake and his decision to get into the water foreshadows his own death.
The setting of the story exemplifies the theme of emotional and psychological burden in times of war. The author sets his short story in Vietnam with various settings showing hardship, fear of failure, and shame. One such setting is the village of Than Khe. Jimmy led his men to launch a vicious offensive against a defenseless village. In the aftermath, only a wreck of a village stood. This wanton destruction of property and lives correlates with the destruction that the soldiers are undergoing. The image of Jimmy with his “entrenching tool, weighing five pounds” (4) and the emotional distress that ensues following the death of Lavender reflects O’Brien’s dexterity at merging setting and characters to bring out compelling themes.
The author also uses characters to portray the underlying events and feelings in other characters’ lives. Though physically absent from the war, Martha features prominently in the short story. She sends Jimmy mixed signals about her love for him. Being the object of his / her obsession, sometimes the lady get his attention from his / her duties of a new leader. With the options, Jimmy is working his men found in digging out a new tunnel.
Lavender and also a fellow soldier are inside the tunnel and Jimmy is watching from outside. O’Brien tries to render that Jimmy’s lack of concentration results in collapse of the tunnel and the death of Lavender who was therein. Even in the face of death, Jimmy thinks about Martha. In the story, it is expressed as the moment of madness when “he [Jimmy] tried to concentrate on Lee Strunk and the war, all the dangers, but his love was too much for him, he felt paralyzed, he wanted to sleep inside her lungs and breathe her blood and be smothered” (5).
Another important character that exemplifies the theme of emotional burden is Kiowa. He provides the members of his platoon with an opportunity to vent off emotional distress and achieve healing. O’Brien depicts Kiowa as a religious, amiable and compassionate friend to all (6). His appropriateness as a character therefore is made for emotional catharsis.
With the help of this portrayal, typically the reader grows to know the emotional troubles of other character types. He provides Jimmy with an opportunity to assuage a new tormented conscience above the death regarding Lavender. Greater than additional characters, Kiowa is aware of Jimmy’s obsession together with Martha and is also eager to help him or her concentrate. Even inside his death, Kiowa leaves a long lasting impression within the lifestyles of other troops.
Found in conclusion, O’Brien uses his story-telling ability to show typically the predicaments of military at war. He or she portrays the conflict as excessively burdening within the soldiers as compared to people expect. Even more than the government gears that military carry, they likewise have to put up with emotional burdens, which often may come coming from the lives they will left behind or perhaps from the horror and grief inside the war. This specific short story is usually a call about everyone to indicate on the lifestyles of soldiers of which put their lifestyles on the range in order that other folks can enjoy peacefulness.
Gets results Cited
O’Brien, Tim. The Items They Carried: A new Work of Hype