The Things They Carried: The Charm and Horror of War

The important things they carried

!.?.!? Anushree Godbole Pd. 1 Thesis: In “The Important Things They Brought”, Tim O’brien describes the charm and horror of war to reveal change during war through contrasting images. Body Paragraph # 1: O’Brien utilizes contrasting images while explaining the death of Curt Lemon. He initially illustrates Lemon’s death in a pleasant method:” [W] hen he died it was practically beautiful the way the sunshine happened him and raised him up … into a tree loaded with … white blossoms” (O’Brien 67).

In a way, Lemon is being born-again because of the trees and white blossoms symbolize spring and renewal. It’s almost like O’Brien is imagining him going to a better location. On the contrary, O’Brien then specifies, “The parts were simply hanging there … pieces of skin and something wet and yellow that should’ve been the intestinal tracts. The gore was awful and stays with me” (79 ). This experience “spends time” in O’Brien’s mind and the gore of it also adds to the part of the war that O’Brien just can’t release.

Body Paragraph # 2: Mary Anne Bell goes though a substantial modification when Mark Fossie flies her in to Vietnam. When she initially arrives, she is portrayed as “an attractive lady … she had great legs, a bubbly personality and a happy smile” (O’Brien 90). Rat Kiley explains her legs and appearance so strongly to reveal desire of the guys during the war. They all long something from home, such as love, and Mary Anne Bell provides that. After a few weeks, Rat Kiley shows the full change in Mary Anne Bell: “There was no emotion behind her gaze, no sense of individual behind it …

At the woman’s throat was a pendant of human tongues” (O’Brien 105). Mary Anne Bell is simply a representation of how the war can change a normal individual into one who uses human tongues. Her character represents vulnerability due to the fact that of how little her and the soldiers know about war, and how considerably it can alter them. Body Paragraph # 3: While analyzing a scene, the soldiers come across a lady who is dancing while her whole town is burned down. They find this odd, as her household is dead in the house.

When O’Brien recalls the image of her dancing, he says she “increased on her toes and made a sluggish turn and danced through the smoke. Her face had a dreamy look, quiet and composed.” (O’Brien 130.) This girl is too innocent to understand the horror that is happening around her and she simply wants to dance because she likes it. The smoke represents the result of the war on the soldiers and the girl, and dancing represents a way they each deal with it. Prior to the girl is introduced, O’Brien states,” There was no music.

The majority of the hamlet had actually burned down, including her house. We found her household in your house. They were dead and terribly burned” (129 ). War is a thing of scary in this scene, as everything burns down to ashes and absolutely nothing is left. Burning down represents the soldier’s lives sort of “burning down to ashes” when they get drafted to the war initially. The absence of music reveals the dull, depressed environment of Vietnam. The dancing woman shows peace, yet struggle at the same time.

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