Throughout the book he reflects on his experiences in an effort to bring about a sense of redemption. He struggles with his own feelings of guilt, hatred and cowardice. He inwardly loathes himself for having reported to the draft, and labors to understand why he lives through the war while so many around him died.
We follow his recollections of the war, from receiving his draft notice until he eventually returns to Vietnam as a middle-aged father. He treats his claymores as if they were firecrackers and has little respect for human of animal life.
After strapping the puppy to a claymore and then detonating it, he wonders what everyone is so upset about. Azar can always be counted on for an insensitive joke at an inappropriate moment. He mocks the Vietnamese girl who just lost her family. He jokes about Kiowa getting buried in the mud.
Most of the platoon detests Azar because of his behavior. Henry Dobbins once held him over a well for mocking the dance of the little Vietnamese girl. Kiowa A deeply religious American Indian who carries a tomahawk and a bible in his rucksack when on patrol.
In part, this is due to his inability to communicate with other people, express what has happened to him and come to terms with his new reality. He feels that he has much to say, but lacks the words. Norman is somewhat symbolic of the isolation veterans feel once they return home.
Eventually this isolation overwhelms him and he commits suicide. Although the platoon trusts him as their medic, he seems to be somewhat unstable mentally. After his friend Curt Lemon is killed, he systematically mutilates a water buffalo with his rifle.
Towards the end of the novel, he comes unglued after a series of night marches and shoots himself in the foot to get out of the war. Try as he might, he cannot push the thoughts about Martha out of his mind and concentrate on the war.
Every time a member of his platoons is killed, he blames himself for his distracted state. While marching down the trail he sucks on a pebble that Martha sent him and thinks about the New Jersey shore instead of looking for signs of ambush.
He is representative of the young officers that fought the war in Vietnam, brave boys who did the best they could despite their youth and inexperience. The platoon realizes his leadership is flawed, but most respect him because he cares.
Most likely, he already knew. When the two men go out fishing only a few feet from the Canadian shore, Elroy brings the author face to face with the decision he had been putting off all week.
It is then he realizes he cannot do what he feels he should do. Curt developed a reputation for being crazy, doing things out on patrol that no one in his right mind would do. One Halloween he paints his body, puts on a ghost mask, and goes out trick-or-treating completely naked.
Despite the ostentatious acts, Curt faints when confronted with an army dentist.THE THINGS THEY CARRIED (excerpts) Tim O’Brien FROM: TIM O’BRIEN, THE THINGS THEY CARRIED (NEW YORK: PENGUIN, ) The Things They Carried First Lieutenant Jimmy Cross carried letters from a girl named Mar-tha, a junior at Mount Sebastian College in New Jersey.
A summary of “Style” in Tim O’Brien's The Things They Carried. Learn exactly what happened in this chapter, scene, or section of The Things They Carried and what it means.
|Introduction||But it also redefines what a war story truly is:|
|The Things They Carried: CHARACTER ANALYSIS by Tim O'Brien||Plot Summaries[ edit ] "The Things They Carried" Lieutenant Jimmy Cross, the leader of a platoon of soldiers in Vietnam, carries physical reminders of Martha, the object of his unrequited love. A death in the squad under his supervision causes Cross to reconsider his priorities, and, heartbroken, he burns and throws away all reminders of Martha in order to stave off dangerous distractions.|
|literary criticism||Add your rating What's the story?|
|The Things They Carried: Summary & Analysis | The Things They Carried | Study Guide | CliffsNotes||O'Brien deftly weaves narrative and commentary on that narrative in order to make the reader understand the difference between literal truth--that is, the actual sequence of events--and how the soldier perceives the sequence of events, which, in O'Brien's view, can be vastly different: In any war story, but especially a true one, it's difficult to separate what happened from what seemed to happen.|
Perfect for acing essays, tests, and quizzes, as well as for writing lesson plans. As your question implies, Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried is an exercise in relating the truth of the Vietnam War experience and telling the reader how to interpret that truth.
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Short Stories. With the death of so many weekly magazines that published short stories, demand for the short story has disappeared and some think short stories have become a lost art form.
"The Things They Carried"(The Things They Carried) Essays & Non-fiction "The Vietnam in Me" - important personal essay in the NY Times on O'Brien's. "Salvation, Storytelling, and Pilgrimage in Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried." Mosaic 36 () [questia sub ser, substantial preview]. Wesley, Marilyn.
"Truth and Fiction in Tim O'Brien's If I Die in a Combat Zone and The Things They Carried." College Literature 29, 2 (Spring ) pp [free at jstor.