The Important Things They Brought (War)
Mr. Willions English 26 May 2011 Final Essay # 7 The most psychological part of war is the quantity of death that soldiers come across. Throughout the Vietnam War, soldiers saw their brothers and opponents getting violently killed every day. Prior to war, the soldiers had never been around so much death and damage. In the novel The important things They Brought, the narrator focuses on important deaths and examines them from various perspectives. A death is a big occasion, and not something that can be categorized as an absolute.
The way you view a death one day can be significantly various from the way you see it tomorrow. This is specifically the case when the death is extremely graphic, such as the deaths of Kiowa and the young Vietnamese young boy who O’Brien killed. These deaths have a method of remaining in the minds of the soldiers. O’Brien provides multiple variations of these deaths because they much better enhance the significance of the deaths and the style of handling hard times. For Tim O’brien, the most vivid memory he has is of the male he eliminated in Vietnam.
You can tell by the method he explained the remains in detail using expressions such as “his jaw remained in his throat … the skin at his left cheek was peeled back in 3 rough strips” (O’Brien 124). It is one thing to see death and gore all around you, however it is quite another to actually take a human life. Some individuals accept it, some dislike themselves for it, and some never overcome it. There are lots of people to blame besides yourself when you eliminate someone. However, when it boils down to it, eliminating (even in war) is murder.
O’Brien dwells on the death of this young Vietnamese young boy and discusses it several other times saying “I killed him … He was a slim, dead, practically dainty young man of about twenty” (O’Brien 180). It seems that O’Brien is either residence in the past, or discussing it in a different way to get his point throughout that death is a complicated event that can’t be determined or comprehended. Kiowa’s death probably impacted the Alpha Company as a whole more than the death of any other. Even those who didn’t witness his sluggish departure into the muddy field felt weak and disbelieving about the death.
One minute Kiowa existed and the next he wasn’t. Some individuals blamed themselves for the death of Kiowa. A young boy who shined his flashlight claimed to have shown the opponent their position, killing Kiowa. Norman Bowker, with all his strength, blamed himself for not being able to pull Kiowa out of the swampy river. Bowker recalled vivid information of Kiowa’s final minutes as” [Kiowa’s] watch emitted a phosphorescent shine as it slipped below the thick waters” (O’Brien 149). O’Brien’s point in going over the death of Kiowa is that individuals can either accept a death as a death or over evaluate it and blame themselves for it.
He wants to show to individuals who read his stories that you do not need to harp on a death permanently. You can’t ignore death either. The point is not to forget, however to accept the death as a part of life. What occurred in the past is done and can not be changed no matter what. They eyes can not unsee and the ears can not unhear. The unique The important things They Brought brings its main theme by the stylistic usage of repeating. By duplicating important deaths in the readers’ minds from different perspectives, the reader can better analyze the war and translate it in an unique way.