The Things They Carried: Attitude Amongst Many Characters Sets a Constant Theme

The Important Things They Brought

!.?.!? Pride A lot of the characters in The Things They Carried exemplify incredible pride in their actions, causing them to do great or bad things that they would not have the courage to do otherwise. O’Brien’s individual experience reveals that the fear of being shamed before one’s fellow soldiers is a powerful encouraging factor in war. He does not want to fight in a war he thinks is unfair, but he does not wish to be thought of as a coward. This same attitude amongst many characters sets a constant theme in the book.

The story “On the Rainy River” develops the theme of pride as a motivating aspect, initially introduced by Jimmy Cross in “The Things They Brought” and “Love.” Simply as Jimmy Cross feels guilty about Ted Lavender’s death, O’Brien feels guilty about going to Vietnam versus his principles. He even specified, “I feared the war, yes, however I likewise feared exile.” (42) “What it came down to, stupidly, was a sense of shame. I did not want people to think severely of me.” (49) By describing his individual history, O’Brien shows the conflict soldiers typically deal with when deciding, whether it’s to join the war or take a particular action while serving.

The characters in the unique often have to choose whether to succumb to the pressure of their peers or stick with their concepts and conscience. “I would go to the war– I would eliminate and possibly pass away– since I was embarrassed not to.” (57) O’Brien’s dilemma about going to Vietnam demonstrates how the war was fought by soldiers who were often hesitant and conflicted. “Speaking of Guts” is another chapter in which pride is proven to be an identifying consider the ideas and actions of the characters in the book. After the war, Norman Bowker returns to Iowa.

As he drives around in his dad’s truck, Bowker recollects about his times of service. Clockwise, as if in orbit, he took the Chevy on another seven-mile reverse the lake.” (133) He recognizes that he had the opportunity to make a Silver Star, something that his daddy would have been very proud of. Norman likewise has a tough time letting go of the image of Kiowa’s death, especially understanding he could have saved his life. “Norman Bowker kept in mind how he had taken hold of Kiowa’s boot and pulled hard, but how the smell was merely too much, and how he ‘d withdrawed and because way had lost the Silver Star. (147) Bowker wishes to speak of his haunting memory to someone, but he has no one to turn to. This is because of the truth that he repents and scared of the response he may get from anyone he speaks with about the circumstance, including his father. In the chapter entitled “The Dental practitioner,” an Army dental expert is flown in to inspect the males’s teeth. Curt Lemon says, “nobody messes with his teeth,” which when he’s called, he’ll “refuse to enter.” Nevertheless, a few minutes later on, when the dental practitioner calls him, Lemon rises and enters into the tent. He faints before the dental professional can even lay a finger on him.

Later that night he creeps back to the oral tent and firmly insists that he has a killer tooth pain. Though the dental professional can’t find any issue, Lemon requires his tooth be pulled. This event is among the best examples of one’s pride having a result on his course of action. Curt Lemon was afraid of what his fellow soldiers would consider him, having passed out before anything had actually occurred. So much so, that he got a completely great tooth removed. In the morning, when he reveals that the dentist has pulled his tooth, he is proud, having beat his prior worried reaction (fainting) with an obvious display of manliness.

Pride not only encourages reluctant guys to go to Vietnam, however likewise impacts soldiers’ relationships with each other once there. Concern about social acceptance is what leads O’Brien’s characters to take ridiculous or unsafe actions during war. O’Brien utilizes these characters to show that although standard factors such as patriotism are still in location, pride and fear of pity is typically an unavoidable motivation for going to war as well as taking specific actions while there.

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