The Things They Carried: The Central Sensations of Fear and Trepidation

Throughout the book The Things They Brought by Tim O’Brien and the documentary “Dear America: Letters Home to Vietnam” the central sensations of fear and trepidation were prominent. As a reader, or audience, I was able to take the sensations of the soldiers during the Vietnam War and equate it in a manner to relate it to my own life. Throughout Tim O’Brien’s The important things They Carried and the documentary “Dear America: Letters Home to Vietnam”, I experienced several emotions that were caused by the circumstances presented.

From the very beginning of the novel where O’Brien noted off the things they brought, I worried. What started off as a basic list of tangible products they actually brought, changed into emotional or psychological baggage that weighed each of the males down in different methods. “They carried all the emotional baggage of men who might die. Grief, terror, love, longing-these were intangibles, however the intangibles had their own mass and specific gravity, they had tangible weight” (O’Brien 21).

We all bring things with us that nobody else can see. This is relatable not just to those who have actually combated in war, but also to the daily person. The Greek Theorist Plato when stated “… everyone you meet is combating a more difficult battle”. Whether this is an actual battle or an internal conflict undetectable to the human eye, we all have something to bring. From the chapter “The important things They Carried” I had the ability to interpret that there are some things that others can assist us carry, like our knapsack or a weapon. On the other hand, there are likewise things that we need to bring ourselves, like the feelings of fear, love, uncertainty, and ostracism. As I saw the development of these poor difficulties creating more and more weight upon the backs of these soldiers, I started to consider how in my own life there are feelings that can produce a sort or weight, although it might not be in such an extreme situation as the Vietnam War. Yes, there are things that make me scared, sad, ashamed, and many other emotions all across the spectrum. Nevertheless by discovering how the soldiers dealt with their feelings of worry and isolation, I was able to deduce that pretending to not feel can weigh you down more than in fact feeling it.

All of the men in The Things They Carried reduced their fear so the other males would not know they were afraid. This had destructive effects on all of their mental states. Although these are fictional characters and circumstances, I understand that the emotions they felt were real from seeing “Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam”. Having the ability to hear in a soldiers own words how terrified and lonely the situations in Vietnam were puts war in an entire new point of view for me. Personally, I feel as though I’m desensitized to violence. In fact, I’m a little bit captivated by it, mainly because I have never experienced real violence right in front of my face.

The only contact I have with violence is through a TV or computer system screen. So viewing this documentary filled with genuine guys, genuine screams, and genuine gunfire was an eye opening experience. Tim O’Brien’s writing, although it does produce a mental image, can not rather capture the essence of war that seeing it happen has to use. Dear America validates my belief that the fear these males felt throughout the Vietnam War was not only genuine, but was greater than I might ever have the ability to fathom. Throughout both Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Brought and the documentary “Dear America: Letters House to Vietnam” the feeling of worry is prominent and palpable for the viewer.

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