The Things They Carried, the Story by Tim O’Brien

The Important Things They Brought Ben Cornelius The story “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien is a tremendously comprehensive fictional account of a wartime circumstance in which jimmy Cross (the story’s primary character) grows as an individual, and the emotional and physical luggage of wartime are exposed. The most apparent and prominent feature of O’Brien’s writing is a repetition of detail. O’brien also passively examines the effects of wartime on the underdeveloped psyche by giving the reader close up insight into typical adversities of war, but not in an always expositorial sense.


He takes us into the minds of mere kids as they handle the amazing and under-talked-about results or justifying death, discomfort and isolation along with the themes of heroism, physical and mental pain, and a loss of innocence. Obrien attains this through extended description, imagery and tone paired with an intimate relationship with the stories primary characters. O’brien consistently mentions what each soldier is carrying for two factors.

The very first factor is character advancement.

The more the reader learns about a character’s belongings the more he/she effectively knows about the characters themselves. An example of this would be how Cross carries a photo of a lady, thinking whether she is a virgin. Dobbins carries additional provisions and his girlfriend’s pantyhose around his neck. This indicates superstitious notion and an above average weight. Ted Lavender carries weed and tranquilizers to soothe his stress and anxiety. This suggests a failure to cope with death or violence; maybe wartime as a whole.

Finally Kiowa carries an illustrated copy of the brand-new testament and a knife offered to him by his daddy. These possessions mention the fact that he is a guy of god with a regard for his daddy. I think it id ironic, though, that all of these guys’s non-military items are of no real effect in the war. They don’t do anything. It could be argued that these products are a mode of escapism for the military guys. that it helps them cope mentally. I, nevertheless, would argue to the contrary, I believe that all of these home town relics just truly offer distress.

They serve only as a tangible pointer of what they are missing out on and who will miss them if they fall to the earth in the war. Character development is likewise important to the story. In the beginning Cross thought about a woman called Martha. He fantasizes weather or not she is a virgin and subsequently, thinks about different methods to take her virginity. This dream consumes him up until the day his buddy and army compatriot, Lavender, dies. Cross thinks Lavenders death to be his fault and decides to put his dreams to rest and presume, totally, a position of true leadership.

This change in character is likewise marked by Cross’ damage of the photo. The destruction of fantasy is likewise significant because it shows Cross’ shift from boyhood into man hood. The primary difference between youth and their adult years is the problem of duties. At a specific point every young adult must submit to these or be a failure. This submission is a melancholy time as it marks the end of unchecked optimism and the start of pragmatism. For Cross, this modification is specifically melancholy because the driver for his change was the death of a liked one.

Cross loss of innocence here is, nevertheless, not particular in the sense of the story. Cross’ loss of innocence is symbolic the loss of innocence that all of his soldiers should face. However much more so, it is symbolic of the lost innocence of entire generations and their countries. In any wartime situation the youth of feuding nations must put aside innocence and take on the morbid responsibility of death and war. They should begin to comprehend the intricate nature of exceptionally unpredictable geopolitical relationships and put their own nature aside to presume the identity of a nation.

An identity which is intrinsically damaged. As a reader I was quite disturbed at Cross’ loss of innocence. After Lavender passes away, Cross bends in his foxhole in the rain and burns the two photos of Mary that he has along with the letters. I believe that the significance of rain here is really poten, t but also carries inconsistent messages to the reader. Rain in general, is a sign of filtration, however I believe in this context it is likewise symbolic of extreme sadness and depression. I like the truth that, through personification, the rain could represent innocence trying to maintain itself.

This indicates that he drizzle itself does not desire cross to burn the photos. Likewise, in the abovementioned contradictory sense, the rain also represents the severe sadness that is accompanied by crosses loss. It is also important to keep in mind that this loss of innocence is supplemented by an image of death. When Cross burns the pictures and letters it could be viewed as cremation. I felt the same sense of loss while reading this as the dispossessed would feel. This part of the story represents a very actual death of innocence. In the very same paragraph Cross explains that he now Dislikes Mary.

Due to the fact that in Cross’ mind Mary is accountable for his own distraction and hence the death of Lavender. He says that he still loves her, however in a hating sort of way. This reveals that when Cross lost his innocence, he likewise lost his ability to harbor pure love. Now all his future love will be tinged with the sadness and discomfort of his first love. His purest love. The tone of “The Things They Carries” is very much dark and foreboding. To support the tone of the story Obrien utilizes dark color design and dark psychological schemes along with the weather condition and setting.

O’brien writes “kiowa shook his head regretfully and glanced over at the hole where Lieutenant Jimmy Cross sat viewing the night. The air was thick and damp. A warm dense fog had settled over the paddies and there was the stillness that precedes rain.” Here, O’brien utilizes the weather to show the melancholy of the scenario. The reader is covered by a sense of loss and fright. The stillness that precedes rain suggests that the soldiers have actually not yet accepted Lavenders death. They remain in rejection. They are still innocent in their denial. Just upon approval will they be able to lose their innocence and end up being real soldiers.

The thick air is indicative of emotional and physical injustice. Physically the soldiers need to deal with disease heat and pain. But mentally they need to handle the fact that, if they are to accept their feelings it would be overwhelming, therefor not a choice. They would squint into the dense, overbearing sunlight. “For a couple of minutes, maybe, they would fall quiet, lighting a joint and tracking its passage from man to male, breathing in, holding in the embarrassment.” O’Brien writes of the psychological injustice as a method to avoid humiliation.

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