The function of this paper is to introduce, talk about, and analyze the novel The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien. Specifically it will consist of a quick analysis of the first chapter of the book. O’Brien’s usage of metaphors of weight and lightness throughout the story establishes the reader’s understanding of the situation the soldiers in the story discover themselves in.
Author O’Brien battled in Vietnam therefore he blogs about the men and the war from experience, and it displays in this moving novel.
The opening chapter, “The important things They Carried,” introduces the men, and permits the reader a glimpse into the real, daily war these boys battled in Vietnam. Two times within the very first couple of pages O’Brien talks about the death of Ted Lavender while contrasting his death with the lightness of the important things he carried with him in his rucksack.
O’Brien uses the metaphor of “humped” to show the weight of the important things the soldiers carry, but he also utilizes it to show the emotional baggage they bring with them into the war, such as Jimmy’s Cross’ unreturned love for Martha back home.
O’Brien composes of Jimmy’s love, “Practically everyone humped photographs. In his wallet, Lieutenant Cross brought 2 photos of Martha” (O’Brien 4). Later on, he uses the metaphor again when he writes of Lieutenant Cross’ duty to his males.
He writes, “He brought a strobe light and the duty for the lives of his guys” (O’Brien 5). O’Brien makes the weight of these obligations seem light, however uses the metaphor to show how weighty they truly are. Plainly, Cross rather comprehends the weight of his responsibility, and he does not take it gently. He knows his males trust him with their lives, and if he makes the wrong choice his guys could pay the supreme cost, they might quit their lives since he makes a mistake. Which is the supreme weight that rests on Lieutenant Cross, and it is much heavier than his rucksack.
O’Brien invests a great deal of time on the weapons and ammunition they brought and the weight of these items. That is because the soldiers’ lives depend on these items, which gives them additional weight in the story. Revealing the quantity of ammunition and other items they carry also shows their worry and some of the conditions they dealt with as soldiers in Vietnam. Their circumstance is far from light, it is very heavy, and they understand it.
Any of them might pass away at any moment. The Vietnamese knew the jungles and the terrain and the Americans did not. They might be surprised and ambushed at any time. O’Brien shows the soldiers’ fear in the large quantity of weapons and ammunition they bring, and likewise shows they do not in fact imply much. Ted Lavender passes away carrying more ammo than anybody else, so the weight of the ammunition not did anything to assist him conserve his own life. That is the fear all the guys face– that they have no control over the circumstance around them, and any of them might die, similar to Lavender did.
Crucial of the important things they bring is the “weight of memory” O’Brien speak about in the chapter and notes that is one weight they share. They can not forget a number of the dreadful things they have seen, or that they might be the next one. They can not forget their scenario since it is the only reality they know for now.
That is also too weighty for some of them, so they make jokes about their predicament and attempt to escape by drinking, using drugs, or thinking of memories back home. Jimmy Cross has his false-memory syndromes of Martha that he carries with him, and all the others have memories of something, too. These memories can weigh the men down if they let them. Cross believes his memories assisted get Lavender killed because he was not taking note.
O’Brien also uses detailed language to show their environments. He writes, “They carried the sky. The entire atmosphere, they brought it, the humidity, the monsoons, the stink of fungi …” (O’Brien 15). O’Brien puts the reader right into the jungle with the men. Using metaphor, description, and language, he makes the reader feel the fear of the guys and feel as if they understand and comprehend these males and the “things they bring.”
References O’Brien Tim. The Important Things They Carried