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Essay Samples > Literary Analysis > The Things They Carried
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The Things They Carried

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“The things they carried” is a story written by Tim O’Brien. It talks about platoon battle fight of American soldiers from Alpha Company.  The book was published in 1990. It is about the experiences of O’Brien in the war, and the relationship he had with his friends. The story is more about battler experiences and the way the soldiers behaved during the Vietnam War. The story is written with a battle field back ground. It focuses on the way American soldiers contact themselves during engagement in fight. The characters in the story were afraid and this makes them to avoid engaging the enemy in the fight. They are carrying fear and guilty accompanied by other physical things. The first member of Alpha Company to die, known as Lavender, did not behave in soldiery manner. Lavender was anxious in the battle and used to take marijuana and tranquiller. This made him to forget the teachings of military and behaved like a normal layman who knew nothing about the war. Lavender was short dead at the head while coming from the bathroom and was the first soldier to die. Tim O’Brien explains he went away in order to avoid the call of the mission. He run to Canadian border but upon realizing that the behavior did not favor the training and portrayed bad image he went back to join other members of Alpha company.

The story explains the consequences of individuals who avoided doing what was expected. The author tries to show the readers the negatives accompanied by disobedience and lack of moral contact. He shows that those who did not contact themselves according to military requirement died. Like lavender who took Marijuana which is a forbidden drug was the first to be killed. Lavender was killed because the drugs which he took made him to show out from the bathroom and the enemies spotted him and short him at the head.

The title of the story is derived from the context. The soldiers carried many things which made them to fight to Vietnam. It is indicated that they carried guilty and fear among other physical things which include matches, M-16 riffles, morphine and M&M’s candy. The things which they carried to the battle field determined their fate. The fear which they had made them to receive warm encounter from the enemies and they were killed. They were guilty and this made them not to fight against the enemy as required. O’Brien went to hind due to his guilty conscience and upon realizing what he carried drove him away from the military expectation he returned. Those things which they had carried determined their fate during the battle.

The story has change because the soldiers behaved in a strange way at the beginning of the story but toward the end they showed their commitment, while in the battle field. They showed out committed due to the death of their friends. Commitments and determination in job assists in avoidance of negativities. The change in soldier’s behavior shows that people should be determined in their job even if there are no side effects.

The story does not reflect what it should take for an individual to become a soldier to fight in Vietnam War. They had fear and guilty mind. The soldiers in Vietnam War are supposed to be courageous without any guiltiness, since the Vietnam encounters people without regret of their action. They killed without consideration of the soldier’s welfare and this shows that they deserved the same treatment. The soldiers were supposed to act courageously and fight without regret of their actions, and this could have reduced the number of dead soldiers.

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