Essay about the things they carried

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Far from his Oklahoma home, the Native American, Kiowa holds tight to his bible and a hatchet given to him by his grandfather. And tied to his neck, the imposing machine gunner, Henry Dobbins styles a pair of pantyhose once worn by his girl. The author objectified these heavy emotions and distributed them to the men of Alpha Company to carry.

This particular paper sample was aimed to describe the importace of personal belongings in the book. Martha expresses love and danger; Mary Anne Bell loss of innocence, and Linda memory and death. Despite the fact that the leitmotif of the stories is war and death, female characters represent significant human values and emotions. One of the most meaningful female characters is Martha, who appears in the first story The Things They Carried and symbolizes love and danger.

Literary Analysis of “The Things They Carried” Critical Essay

A novel describes the story of Lieutenant Jimmy Cross, who keeps memories of his friend Martha, whom he met in a college. He keeps all her letters and photographs and often thinks whether she dates with other guys. In fact, Jimmy understands that Martha does not love him and gives him false hope. One day the Alpha Company leaves for an operation, but even there the lieutenant cannot concentrate and thinks about his distant love.

The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien Essay

At this time, his friend Lavender gets injured, and after a while, he dies. This event makes Jimmy Cross to reflect on the unrequited love for Martha and to analyze the consequences of his obsessive thoughts about her. In this story, Martha symbolizes love, as the most valuable human feeling, and danger, since this attitude leads to tragic consequences. She expresses a magic love that resists the brutal reality of war.

The Things They Carried Essay Older Microsoft

Ultimately, this unfulfilling dream of Martha, the hopes for a future life with her lead to the fact that the lieutenant is constantly distracted by thoughts about the object of his desire, even at the most critical moment. With this story, the author makes a statement that in the war the soldiers should focus on their actions, on what is happening at the current moment and not be distracted by the ghostly memories of the past, as this can cost a human life.

Therefore, the character of Martha symbolizes a confrontation between love and danger, fantasy and the cruel reality of life.


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The effect of this supposedly honest and deliberate style of telling readers more than just the story of Norman Bowker is double-edged. O'Brien frequently challenges readers to believe or disbelieve aspects of his stories and blurs the boundaries between fiction and truth.


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  5. By calling the veracity of stories into question, O'Brien underscores the overall style that defines The Things They Carried: constantly changing at random, unexpected, marked by telling juxtapositions, diffuse, not easily defined. The combination of these stylistic approaches, paired with the questioning of a story's veracity, evokes deliberately a sense of uneasiness in the reader.

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    Style, for O'Brien, is an overarching theme of the novel, because these appellations of randomness, unevenness, and lack of definition can be applied to the Vietnam War, which also becomes a meta-textual comment on how stories — in this case the actual Vietnam War — are received and perceived. Courage is the ability to confront fear; in the book, it relates to many things and is described as a skill that must be learned.

    The Things They Carried Essay Tim Grant

    It is viewed that courage comes with fear as many actions of people are motivated by shame rather than courage. Cowardice simply denotes the lack of bravery in the book.

    This text shows that men in the Vietnam War did not go to fight just because they were brave; they did it because they were afraid to be called cowards and to be humiliated in front of their peers. The text suggests that many soldiers are, indeed, cowards and would not stand up to what they wanted if it makes them appear to be cowards. I was too good for this war. Too smart, too compassionate, too everything.

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