A Look At The Things They Carried English Literature Essay

Tim O' Brien was born on Oct 1, 1946 in Austin, Minnesota and migrated at the age of ten to Worthington, Minnesota. O' Brien was engaged within a series of anti-war presentations within his town and found sanctuary from the earth in the state catalogue. After graduating summa cum laude and earning his BA from McAllester College or university in St. Paul in 1968, O'Brien was drafted into the war. O'Brien was from the war in every aspect and the though to be separated from his relatives and buddies drove him to hightail it from the draft and to go to Canada, understanding that he'd be alienated from the country and shown as a wished criminal for operating from the U. S. Federal government. Upon entrance, O'Brien noticed that the pity of these actions managed to get not worthwhile doing and came back home to be drafted. He was drafted in to the US Army Fifth Battalion, Forty-Sixth Infantry as a feet soldier from January, 1969 to March, 1970 under the command of Lieutenant Jimmy Cross. In 1970, O'Brien premiered back into america with a Purple Heart Prize and came into graduate college at Harvard and later received an internship at the Washington Post. During the course of two summers, O'Brien did the trick as a reporter for the Washington Post. His writing career premiered in 1973 with the discharge of If I Expire in a Combat Zone, Box Me personally Up and Send Me Home. In 1975, O' Brien shared his first novel, Northern Lights, that was followed by My Torrents of Spring and coil, a novel encouraged by Earnest Hemmingway. In 1978, O'Brien published the novel SEEKING Cacciato, which earned the National Reserve Award. The novel, The Things They Carried (1990), was the winner of France's exclusive Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger and the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize. It had been also a finalist for the Pulitzer Award and the Country wide Books Critics Circle Award. Other works of O'Brien's consists of, Within the Lake of the Woods (1994), Tomcat in Love (1998), and July, July (2002). Today, O'Brien happens to be a visiting professor at Southwest Tx State School in the Creative Writing Program.

Form, Structure, Plot

The book is sorted out into 22 chapters and it is a total of 246 internet pages. Most chapters average about 10 webpages while some are just 2 pages. The complete novel itself contains flashbacks to the Vietnam Battle from the time of January 1969 to March 1970. Each section refers to a new time during O'Brien's enrollment during the army with different reviews. The chapters are not in chronological order; they in simple fact jump in one event to another. While some chapters are longer than others, a few of the shorter chapters have a far more powerful message. But the novel is known as fiction, these situations were encouraged by true events where O'Brien must remember upon. O'Brien himself clarifies numerous times how battle testimonies are hard to validate as the reality because the storage area of what happened and what appeared to have took place are difficult to split up in the storage area. Just how O'Brien organised his book into some flashbacks provides reader a graphic of what warfare may have been like. There are times throughout the novel when foreshadowing is used. On web page 11, Lee Strunk is chosen to search a caved in tunnel by him-self, O'Brien writes, "He viewed the tunnel beginning, then out across a dried up paddy toward the village of Than Khe. Nothing at all moved. No Clouds or birds or people. As they waited, the men smoked and drank Kool-Aid, not talking much, being sympathy for Lee Strunk but also feeling the chance of the pull. (11)" O'Brien creates a scene of awkwardness and anxiety as the men await Strunk's go back. This passage foreshadows a loss of life soon to follow and creates an image in which it explains the delicacy of the problem. Another use of foreshadowing that O'Brien uses is the titles that he chooses. Because every chapter is like a fresh story, the game titles help the reader to improve their mentality to a new subject. The novel is made up of multiple plots where O'Brien separates into different chapters. Each chapter comprises another type of event in time during the war and points out the dilemmas, problems, and hardships that the platoon got endured. In each event, the reviews are different completely, from routine road checks to extreme firefights, the tales are not in chronological order however the occurrences build higher levels of intensity as the story progresses. In the beginning, O'Brien creates of the men in his platoon and the things they transported with them during the war. Initially, O'Brien catalogues the things each man got helped bring: condoms, comic literature, stationeries, images, and other various material items. The opening of the novel is a assortment of discontinuous situations, O'Brien's personal insights, and an advantages to his applying for grants death. The stopping of the e book comprises of O'Brien realizing how to keep carefully the memory of the inactive alive by using story informing. He is convinced that any person can be cut back to life spiritually and help loved ones deal with tragedy. O'Brien also writes of a past love that was lost early on in his years as a child and how, right now, he still handles to bring that girl back again to life through his own wishful thinking.

Points of View

The book is written from a 1st person narrative perspective. The book is both a reminiscence written in a history tense and a recent perspective written in the present tense. During the majority of the novel, O'Brien recollects on the happenings during the warfare and writes of the occasions that had occurred with quotes from his platoon and himself, but towards the end of the book, he writes in today's tense using "I" claims to make clear his known reasons for writing the book. In the novel, O'Brien is at times the protagonist, but for the majority, he's simply an observer. Each section offers a new event that experienced occurred and O'Brien is writing simply of what he previously witnessed at the time. However, in Section 22, "The Lives of the Dead, " O'Brien was the protagonist. The section used him as he witnessed his first deceased corpse and also when he writes of his first love as a child, all while detailing his known reasons for writing the novel. At times through the novel, the factors of view move from the past tense in to the present tense, usually when speaking of his platoon men and what he feels about it now. The result O'Brien achieves with his perspective is the fact that he allows the reader to experience the function almost first palm. O'Brien creates with stunning details and will not censor the violence or bad language that acquired happened. He makes the report very real and his purpose for writing in this point of view was to permit the audience to see what O'Brien possessed kept inside of him throughout all these years. O'Brien would like the readers to comprehend what he previously faced through the conflict, what he noticed, felt, smelt, read, and even tasted; so by writing in this perspective, he allows the reader not only to believe, but go through the war for themselves.


The people in THE ITEMS They Carried contain dynamic, static, smooth, and round heroes. All these character types are believable because of the works throughout the novel. The men overcome worries of war never to only survive, but help their friends stay alive as well. Lots of the characters undertake their own tragedy that leads them to better themselves, emotionally and in physical form. These characterization features are revealed by O'Brien authoring the defects the characters possessed, and then down the road in the novel, O'Brien would write of how these personas over came a problem, obsession, or heartbreak and concentrating on the war occurring. A good example would be when O'Brien creates of how Lieutenant Jimmy Cross overcame his lust for a woman at home by the name of Martha in order to have responsibility for his men. Each man experienced their own problem to conquer, but O'Brien generally published only about the men who helped him complete the warfare. The protagonists of the novel were Tim O'Brien himself, Jimmy Cross, Kiowa, Rat Kiley, Mitchell Sanders, Henry Dobbins, and Norman Bowker. The antagonists were the Viet Cong, Vietnam, and their own inner struggles, mentally and physically. The role of the slight character types were used to transcend in one chapter to another or to show the type of warfare by re-telling the storyplot of these who had lived through it. The minor people were often used as examples of how to beat a tragedy or as a remembrance to those who had died.

A central character in the storyplot is Jimmy Mix. His time is not exposed in the book but he is a love stricken, admirable, and negligent. He's a man around age 18 to 21 and is large with a buzz cut who's slender. His role in the book was as the Lieutenant within the platoon and he directed the actual men would do. Within this quote, "He returned to his maps. He was now decided to perform his duties strongly and without carelessness. It wouldn't help Lavender, he knew that, but from this point on he'd comport himself as an officer, " (Page 25 Paragraph 1) Mix finally realizes the severity of his incompetence. After losing Lavender's life, he made a decision to finally "man up" and take responsibility as a leader. He would not allow image of Martha blind his judgment and then proceeds in commanding how an military lieutenant should order; strict, confident, and reassuring.

Another central figure was Tim O'Brien. Through the battle he was an unknown older young adult, but as a copy writer, he's now forty-three. Tim is very sensible, respectful, and timid at times. In the report, he was a scrawny, skinny, young white man. He was about average elevation with dark head of hair. O'Brien was a persona who realized his sense of right and incorrect and was very up against the conflict himself. His function in the book was as an observer, leading line infantry, narrator, copy writer, and storyteller. The quote, "I survived, but it's not a happy ending. I used to be a coward. I went to the conflict, " (Site 61 Paragraphs 5) explains the extremely controversial situation that O'Brien got faced. Unlike most other men at the time, O'Brien was well educated and had an idea to visit graduate institution. He was contrary to the war and had faced his moral issue of working away to Canada to avoid the draft. While in Canada, when the time came up to make his move, run away or say and combat, O'Brien chose to return home and become drafted because he sensed the pity was too much to live with. This offered as a new challenge that anticipated O'Brien with lessons that would last him an eternity.


The novel occurs during the time of January 1969 until March of 1970 in the united states of Vietnam. The united states is in complete chaos as the Vietnamese are battling the People in america. The constant threat of bombs and traps constantly roamed the jungle, the though that a VC could be concealing among the trees and shrubs and shadows waiting for time for you to strike, and the feeling of loneliness that hung in the humid atmosphere was too much for just about any man to handle. Vietnam was referred to as "a full time income hell" without sign of mercy. O'Brien obtains the capability to make an adversary of the whole country of Vietnam itself. In section 15, "Talking about Courage, " the platoon is ambushed by mortar flame while taking refugee in a riverbank. In such a chapter, Kiowa is hit by mortar fire and starts to sink into the river and O'Brien represents the scene as though the river was the true opponent all along. Web page 148 "The shells made deep slushy craters, checking all those years of waste, centuries worthy of, and the smell arrived bubbling out of the earth, " O'Brien uses stunning imagery to permit the reader to assume the scene as if these were there and actually witnessing and smelling the struggle. Not only do the men have to guard themselves of mortar fire, nevertheless they must face an ordeal that issues the men psychologically. The setting is employed as a test of mental durability for the characters and O'Brien can expose that the individuals not only face a physical opponent, but also an opponent within their surroundings. The atmosphere that is created is a heavy ambiance of assault, fear, and danger; the continuous struggle for success and the surprises that haunt every highway, village, and shadows. How O'Brien creates this atmosphere is by his use of words and diction. On web page 65, O'Brien creates of how Lee Strunk steps on a rigged mortar round one day while on a straightforward patrol. The explosion of a bomb takes the machine by surprise so when Lee Strunk is incapacitated of his left leg, O'Brien starts to spell it out the landscape of blood, bone fragments, and agony in detail, gives the novel a dark atmosphere. The environment is very important to the book due to its part in being the key location of warfare. Vietnam was a country of scrutiny during the Vietnam War and without the setting; the book would lose all sense and directions to be a war history. Setting is vital to a novel or written piece and without Vietnam, this story would pointless.


In basic, the author's diction is natural and colloquial. Natural diction is the ordinary speech of an informed native speaker and a good example are available on web page 245, the ultimate paragraph, "I'm forty-three years of age, and a write now, still dreaming Linda alive in exactly the same way. " This quotation is not really a formal declaration and a typical educated speaker can certainly comprehend this estimate. There aren't any jargons, simple words, or slang, making this a natural diction. A good example of colloquial diction are available in various dialogues throughout the book, but on webpage 28, a excellent example are available, "Well, I did so - I used up it. After Lavender passed away, I couldn't This is a new one. Martha provided it to me herself. " Colloquial diction is defined as the everyday or informal but correct vocabulary of ordinary speakers; it often includes common and simple words, idioms, slang, jargon, and contractions. This quotation itself contains simple words and is also a direct price from Jimmy Cross's dialogue. In the book, O'Brien uses imagery in every chapter to spell it out each scene, plus a few ironic devices such as situational irony and verbal irony. The terminology in the book is plain and strong. Quite often, the story has been told in a standard, plain style, however when dialogue is being used, the language can be from foul to exclamatory. Dialogue is used almost in every chapter and can be an exemplory case of colloquial diction. The men speaking use a blend of slang, jargon, common words, and informal speaking. The dialogue is much different from the narrator voice due to the fact that he will not speak in a colloquial diction, however in a neutral diction. Through the war events, he usually will not speak and just writes what he observes, but at the end of the book, his dialogues are usually well though out and also have lessons that can be produced from them. The dialogue form personality to persona is in the colloquial diction possesses foul words, slang, and other colloquial examples. The men are speaking during a time of crises and worries and anticipation can be read in their dialogue. Often, the men try to make humor in their dialogue to hide their fear, however when death strategies, the humor is gone from the men and tranquil overwhelms the platoon.

"She was useless. I Known that. After all, I'd seen her body, yet even as a nine-year-old I had developed begun to apply the magic of reviews. Some I simply imagined up. Others I had written down-the views and dialogue. With nighttime I'd slide into sleep realizing that Linda would be there waiting for me. Once, I remember, we proceeded to go ice-skating late during the night, tracing loops and circles under yellow floodlights. Later we sat with a wood range in the warming house, all alone, and after a while I asked her what it was like to be dead. Seemingly Linda though it was a silly question. She smiled and said, "WILL I look deceased?" I told her no, she looked fantastic. I waited an instant, then asked again, and Linda made a soft little sigh. I could smell our wool mittens drying on the range. " (Site 244-245 paragraph 5)

"In the months after Ted Lavender passed away, there were many other body. I never shook hands-not that-but one afternoon I climbed a tree and threw down that which was left of Curt Lemon. I viewed my friend Kiowa sink in to the muck across the Music Tra Bong. And in early on July, following a struggle in the mountains, I got designated to a six-man details to police in the enemy KIAs. There were twenty-seven bodies along, and elements of several others. The deceased were almost everywhere. Some lay down in hemorrhoids. Some lay by itself. One, I remember, seemed to kneel. Another was bent from the midsection over a small boulder, the most notable of his at once the ground, his hands rigid, the eye squinting in focus as if he were going to execute a handstand or somersault. It was my worst day at the conflict. For three hours we taken the body down the mountain to a clearing alongside a narrow dirt road. We'd lunch there, a truck taken up, and we functioned in two-man clubs to fill the truck. I recall swinging the physiques up. Mitchell Sanders took a man's feet, I needed the hands, and we counted to three, working up momentum, and then we tossed your body high and watched it jump and come to relax on the list of other systems. (Site 242-243 Paragraphs 4)

In both of these passages from the novel, O'Brien uses a neutral diction to write his history. How diction helps define personality is the fact it allows the audience to witness initially hand the amount of esteem a person may have. O'Brien might have used colloquial diction in these two passages about loss of life and pain, but instead he addresses the situation in a manner or admiration. How diction pieces the tone is to apply imagery and information to permit the viewers to envision the landscape. As the passages transfer to more detail, the diction allows the audience to grasp O'Brien's work, allowing a better connection to the novel. The firmness from both of these passages can be summed up as unfortunate and hopeful; unfortunate in the part of policing the bodies of the dead into a pick up truck and hopeful in part of reliving a storage area of a vintage love.


The phrases in the book are virtually all simple sentences. The space is usually 5-10 words with the occasion 15-30 words phrases. The level of formality is casual, because of the novel being intended to emphasize the life style during the war with the use of slang, vulgar diction, and profanity. The long phrases are usually used to describe a whole event or used to provide imagery to the reader. The short concise sentences are used to make quick statements and achieve the key point quickly. The brief phrases that he uses range from 5-10 words. Fragments are used occasionally, usually only in dialogue to express imperfect thoughts. Rhetorical questions are also used only in dialogue from one character to some other. Repetition is not found in the novel whatsoever and really the only identified parallel composition is when O'Brien alludes back to days gone by to provide perception to the reader. The phrases in the novel are periodic with loose sentences being recognized within spoken dialogue. The phrase pattern does not contain much variety and usually takes form as a brief sentence for direct facts, long phrases to describe scenes of imagery, and loose sentences with spoken dialogue. The complete novel is written in a natural to colloquial range of diction and O'Brien uses a great deal of slang, vulgar diction, and profanity in his work. How this creates a rhythm and flow is the fact by using so many everyday words, the audience can easily read the book without much trouble, which provides the readers a reliable circulation of common terms. The tempo also allows the viewers to learn the novel quickly and easily.

The impact that O'Brien is creating by using syntax is pausing the reader through commas and brief sentences. With the use of short sentences and commas, O'Brien provides the reader a chance to quickly stop and build the field within their imagination. Using this method, the reader can efficiently envision the book as the reserve progresses, as being a movie manufactured in the readers brain. With the use of short phrases, O'Brien can exhibit a clear concise though straight into the reader which allows for a quicker knowledge of a character's current position, ambiance, or circumstances. With the use of long sentences, O'Brien uses vibrant imagery to provide information at length, that allows the reader to utilize their own five senses to paint their own ideas of the views being detailed.

Concrete Information/Imagery

An example of the sense "Vision" is "The upper lip and gum and pearly whites were gone. The man's brain was cocked at an incorrect angle, as if loose at the neck of the guitar, and the neck was damp with blood vessels. " (Page 126 Paragraph 5) A good example of the sense "Smell" can be found on web page 145, "a dead-fish smell- but it was something else, too. Finally somebody thought it out. What this is, it was a shit field. The town toilet. " Types of the senses "hearing" and "taste" is "And then he lay down still and tasted the shit in his mouth and sealed his sight and listened to the rainfall and explosions and bubbling tones. "(Site 149 Paragraphs 4) An example of the sense "feeling" is "I used to be shot twice. The first time, away by Tri Bihn, it knocked me resistant to the pagoda wall structure, and I bounce and spun around and ended up on Ray Kiley's lapI experienced wobbly(Page 198 Paragraphs 1)

The imagery used serve as a function to permit the viewers to hook up with the storyplot. Through these descriptive strategies, O'Brien hope to create an image in your brain of his readers that would enable them to experience the storyplot as if these were actually there. The brilliant imagery would allow the readers to place themselves for the reason that situation and ingest the storyplot as a genuine event. By creating details with the five senses, the viewers would understand what the troops got smelled, touched, found, tasted, and been told; the cries of pain off their dropped comrades, the smell of shit from a near by river, the sensation of pain as a bullet penetrates your skin layer, and the visions of battle that consumed all of them. It is the concrete detail that allows a reader to seriously connect to a tale and without them, the reader can only just be remaining with an ambiguous creativeness of what warfare may have been like.


The novel The Things They Carried was highly symbolic. The things that the men within the platoon possessed carried symbolized home and comfort. Each man acquired a distinctive item with them in the war that provided them with comfort and reassurance. These physical items taken the men through every one of the hardships they endured giving them a satisfaction and expectation of time for their ex - lives.

To Jimmy Cross, characters from Martha symbolized unidentified love. Mix was in love with this female who got no idea of his true feelings. He'd"Unwrap the characters, keep them with the tips of his fingers, and spend the previous hour of light pretending. He would imagine romantic camping trips in to the White Mountains in New Hampshire. He'd sometimes flavour the envelope flaps, knowing her tongue has been there. (Page 1 Paragraph 1)" The condom transported by Mitchell Sanders (Page 3) symbolized the love of a woman, as the comic books helped bring by Rat Kiley (Web page 3) symbolized the comfort of junior found inside of every man.

Another major sign in the book is the field in Vietnam where Kiowa passed away. O'Brien reflects upon this piece of earth as the place where apart of his spirit was encased for twenty years. From enough time of the night time when Kiowa was sucked underneath the mud until twenty years later when he been to with his little girl, O'Brien said he noticed it was "hard to find any real feeling. It simply wasn't there. After that long night in the rain, I'd appeared to grow chilly inside, all the illusions removed, all the old ambitions and hopes for myself sucked away into the mud. (Web page 185)" This 'shit field' symbolized something that sucks life from O'Brien's survival; first with taking his best ally Kiowa, then taking his soul and delight from him.

The entire book can be utilized itself to symbolize the recollections of the lives lost through the Vietnam Conflict. The nightmares, the dreams, and the visions can be symbolized into hope and emotions of anyone lost. The function of symbolism seems to serve as a beacon of expect anyone. The desire that nobody will be harmed, the hope that no man dies today, the hope that Martha will like Cross; symbolism is utilized as a way of coping up true thoughts.

Figurative Language

Figurative language is utilized in the novel to help viewers build a better eyesight of the novel. Similes are being used to compare to things jointly, while personification provided human characteristics to inanimate items, these techniques were used to set up the shade and the settings. Although, O'Brien didn't use many figurative languages, on example of a simile can be found on page 145, paragraph 3, "Like soup or something. Heavy and mushy. " Inside the quote, Jimmy Combination was assessing the dry riverbed to a dense form of soup. A good example of a metaphor are available in the beginning of the book when O'Brien lists the materials things that the men needed to hump(jargon for hold). "Jimmy Combination humped his love for Martha in the hillsides" shows the intense feelings that Lieutenant Jimmy Combination possessed for this woman, and exactly how he was inclined to battle to keep the feeling with him. The only real figurative words example used often is allusion, which occurs many times throughout the book. On webpage 155, O'Brien alludes from the initial plot to say the formation of another novel Speaking of Courage. Often sometimes, O'Brien would allude to different occurrences that would offer an understanding of a certain identity or event that later on ties back to the novel. From web pages 155 to 161, O'Brien provides epilogue on the type Norman Barker. The epilogue provides the life of Barker following the war and the life span he had maintained as a veteran. Inside the epilogue, Norman Barker commits suicide and O'Brien writes of the accomplishments Baker got obtained during his time in the war. Allusions are being used in the novel numerous of that time period to provide information on individuals, happenings, and life. Tim O'Brien runs on the total of about 7-15 allusions in the book and they are either an information on a persona or event or acts as an epilogue on closed down scenarios.

Ironic Devices

O'Brien uses many rhetorical strategies and figurative dialects in his novels to spell it out his scene in detail. The example of irony is situational irony, which is situated on web page 12, paragraph 3, "He went ahooo, right then Ted Lavender was taken in the head on his in the past from peeing. " Before the quote, O'Brien had written of Lee Strunk's mission to search an empty tunnel. O'Brien uses detail and imagery to coloring the theory that death anticipated Lee inside the tunnel. The men all hated single missions in the dark, so they drew straws to choose the victim to find the tunnel. When Lee gets into, the men become terrified and noiseless and consider Lee being selected off by the VC. Shortly, Lee comes out of the tunnel alive, but filthy. The platoon makes jokes and impersonations of ghouls and ghosts, but all of the sudden Ted Lavender was taken in the top on his in the past from urinating. The audience had been wanting Lee to be harmed instead, since O'Brien was focusing on description and depth towards the tunnel, however Lavender dies. Throughout the novel, O'Brien points out the understatements that his platoon uses when explaining the war. For example, whenever any soldier asked Ted Lavender how the war was going, he would simply say, "From the mellow conflict today. (Page 239)" Another exemplory case of irony is shown when O'Brien defined his childhood sweetheart. He swears that they were in love, even at age nine. What is ironic concerning this girl, Linda, is the fact O'Brien points out how she was always smiling. She experienced a pretty red head wear that she used on their night out, and the entire night she would sit there smiling. Later in the section, O'Brien instructs of how Linda experienced a brain tumor and she later perished. While smiling in her attractive red hat, she was really slowly but surely dying from a brain tumor and only wearing this type of hat to hide a giant scar tissue and multiple stitches on her behalf head.


Tim O'Brien's frame of mind toward the Vietnam Conflict is very serious and packages a firmness of compassion and optimism. The novel often expresses situations in which men are being shot upon, killed, and ripped apart; mentally and literally. The shades during those situations were often expressed as mournful and dismal. At other areas of the storyline, the tone acquired changes from a tragic sense to a unhappy tone. How O'Brien creates this shade is by improving the storyline from a scene of violence to a arena of loneliness and mourning. Each section in the novel revolves around a tragic tone and no subject the location, the story some how ties into a sense of loss of life. Also, by using imagery, O'Brien can paint clear pictures in to the readers mind with the use of adjectives, similes, and sentence structure. "The day was cloudy. I approved through towns with familiar titles, through the pine forests and right down to the prairie, and then to Vietnam, where I had been a soldier, and then home again. I survived, but it's not a happy stopping. I used to be a coward. I went to war. " (Web page 61 Paragraphs 1) The brief fragmented sentences provide shorter and concise images, while much longer sentences are used to describe more detail of what is occurring, "His jaw was in his throat, his higher lip and pearly whites were eliminated, his one eyeball was shut, his other eye was a star-shaped carry, his eyebrows were think and arched such as a woman's, his nasal area was undamaged" (Site 125 Paragraphs 1) The diction creates a build of convenience and casualness, although explaining the person that he killed.


The central theme of the book is "Through the energy of report, anyone can be kept alive spiritually. " Throughout the novel, O'Brien recognizes that death vacations in many versions and that our family members will be vanished ultimately. In the long run of the novel, O'Brien refers back to the fatality of his first true love and remembers a problem in which he previously a conversation with that litttle lady. He asked her what it was prefer to be inactive, and she replied, "Well, right nowI'm not dead. However when I am, it's likeI don't know, I guess it's like being inside a reserve that nobody's reading. " (Site 245 Paragraphs 2) On this page, O'Brien reveals how he is able to remember all of his fallen friends by placing them in account form. After revealing of his dream, he created the image of him floating through his life, back to where he was there sitting down at the office writing the storyplot. He concluded with declaring that "thirty years later, [he] realize[s] it as Tim attempting to save Timmy's life with a tale. (Page 246)" A secondary theme is "Even in the hardest of situations, it is important to continue moving and not give up hope. " Throughout the novel, the platoons face unparallel scrutiny and many of their fellow men are pressured to face fatality. Even in those hard situations, the men still found ways to keep carefully the memories with their useless comrades alive and have a positive attitude toward the situations that these were caught with. With death staring them in their faces, the men figure out how to laugh and laugh as a way of dealing with war. Through the long marches in the grain areas and the shit river, the men pushed on, not dropping hope or giving up; just moving, longing for a sense of comfort. A motif in the storyplot was the items helped bring by each soldier. All military taken with them an item from your home, which helped bring them comfort and trust. Each man helped bring something unique; the items ranged from a condom to comic books. The men brought with them a feeling of security, but most of all, something to anticipate.

The author's intention is showing that that life won't be an easy job that is handed to us on a silver precious metal platter, but a struggle for success. The dead could keep on dying and the hopeless will continue steadily to give up. Through and through, life will never be fair; it is at those times of hardships must we figure out how to have hope and excersice. Death shall have an impact on everyone on the planet and what O'Brien is trying to explain is that whatever occurred, anyone could be kept alive as a memory space, report, or a goal. Someone may be inactive physically, but spiritually, they could be kept alive through the use of imagination and faith.

Significance of the Title

Tim O'Brien may have not chosen a much better title compared to the Things They Taken for this novel. The title is a lifeless give-a-way to what the story is about, but what readers do not expect is the level of level and meanings that follow each section. From carrying a condom, a comic e book, ammunition, the bible, images, and many other little materials things, these possessions helped the men drive on during the war and acted as their own little safe place. What O'Brien is wanting to convey with the title is that not only did the men hold their 10-pound vest, or their 15-pound M-16 rifles, nevertheless they also carried feelings, struggle, and courage. They taken one another, and transported the weight of an entire country on their shoulder blades. The materialistic things any man may bring to conflict can generalize the title, but the meaning goes much deeper than what's actually offered. O'Brien conveys that the men experienced to transport the memories with their fallen friends, the guilt of getting rid of another man, the mental emotions of warfare, and the sense of continue even in times of hardship. The meaning of the name changes for the reader from pre to create reading due to finding a clear understanding on the actual men actually transported throughout the battle. The men carried much, much more than simply items and armor; they transported laughter, delight, anger, optimism, dread, and love. They transported anything that would help them make it through in Vietnam. They carried one another sometimes. They taken themselves. The title of the novel only grows stronger as the novel progresses in support of until the novel is completed will the reader fully understand THE ITEMS They Carried; simple yet intricate at the same time.

Memorable Quotes

"We held the useless alive with testimonies. When Ted Lavender was taken in the top, the men talked about how precisely they'd never seen him so mellow, how tranquil he was, how it wasn't the bullet but the tranquilizers that blew his head. He wasn't deceased, just laid-back. " (Page 239 paragraph 1)

This estimate is significant to the story because it allowed comfort for the men who experienced fallen throughout their line of work. War claimed the lives of thousands of people, some family, others friends, warfare acquired no mercy. The novel was not written to glorify the war, but it was written to commemorate those who got fallen. This quotation is significant since it provided leverage on the morals of the platoon. This price also captures what the author was trying to convey with the complete novel. These folks that mean a lot to these men weren't easy to lose to a war that many of these didn't trust, so instead of sulking and putting themselves in peril, they start to see the upside to what has happened. Instead of remembering the image of Ted Lavenders brain shot and bloody, they appreciated the tranquility he possessed when loss of life was put after him. This book is no average war book, it's a novel written showing the hardships that those courageous men was required to overcome to endure.

"Tim, it's a war. The Man wasn't Heidi-he possessed a weapon, right? It's a tough thing, for sure, but you surely got to lower out that looking. " (Web page 126 Paragraphs 7)

This estimate is significant because it serves as an example of the problems that the platoon experienced faced through the war. O'Brien had recently killed an adversary and is now looking at the corpse, speechless and filled up with guilt. Battle is a game of success, it's either eliminate or be wiped out and O'Brien was the victor. Tim was a man against the war, and here he is bearing the guilt of the lives he previously taken away, keeping in mind in detail, what had took place. The constant fight was a dilemma the platoons experienced faced each day and rather than having a member of his platoon be killed, Tim acted quickly and wiped out a man before he could harm anyone else. This quote not only shows how O'Brien was able to act quickly in order to save the lives of several men in his platoon, but this estimate also shows his troubled feelings over what he had done. In the novel, O'Brien comes back to speaking of the person he killed several times. He shows how he's still troubled by the actual fact that he required another humans life, even if it was in a war.

"Often in a genuine war story there is not even a point, if not the idea doesn't strike you until twenty years later, in your rest, and you wake up and shake your wife and start telling the storyplot to her, except when you can the end you've forgotten the idea again. And for a long time you lie there watching the storyline happen in your mind. You pay attention to your wife's deep breathing. The War's over. You close your eye. You laugh and think, Christ, what's the idea?"

This is significant to the book since it allows the reader to ponder after the idea of THE ITEMS They Carried. Is there an actual story, or is this simply a collection of warfare stories? Out of this quote, the audience is forced to recollect upon each section and try to pin point the exact point that drove O'Brien to write the book. This leaves a sense of questioning behind O'Brien's purpose, but generalizes over other battle tales as well. Not only does this quotation allow the reader to investigate each chapter regularly, but also O'Brien creates a sense of integrity and trustworthiness. This quotation allows the reader to see how real human O'Brien is. This book was more than just a memory space in his life, it was a problem that has haunted him ever since.

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