Loss In The Things They Carried: A Literary Analysis

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Everyone knows pain. The world is cruel and does not discriminate when it comes to loss. It doesn’t matter if you’re rich, poor, black, white, straight or gay. Everyone experiences loss in their life, whether it’s a loved one, a job opportunity or even your house. Loss is illustrated differently in the novels “The Things They Carried”, a compendium of the Vietnam experiences from the point of view of a platoon, by Tim O’Brien and “The Catcher in the Rye”, a coming of age novel, by J.D Salinger. In, “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien, loss is dealt with similarly by characters Mary Anne and Rat Kiley. Main character Holden of “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D Salinger must also deal with loss. His brother Allie dies of leukemia when he …show more content…
Not only that but his remains are blown into a tree and must be picked out by the rest of the platoon. Rat Kiley and his acquaintances later find a baby water buffalo. At first Rat attempts to care for it, petting it and offering it a ration of their food. After it refuses the food, he brutally attacks it. “He shot it twice in the flanks. It wasn’t to kill; it was to hurt. He put the rifle muzzle up against the mouth and shot the mouth away. Nobody said much. … Curt Lemon was dead. Rat Kiley had lost his best friend in the world. Later in the week he would write a long personal letter to the guy’s sister, who would not write back, but for now it was a question of pain.” (O’Brien 78-79) When you’re in the war, you don’t have a lot of comforts. You’re lucky to get a few letter from home or a couple of pictures, let alone a true friend. What Rat and Curt had was special and almost impossible to find. The war had taken one of the things he cherished most. When Rat and Curt were together, it didn’t really feel like they were in a war. They were always either playing catch or chewing the fat or smoking together. Once Curt was killed, the reality set in that Rat was really in a war now and that he wouldn’t have his escape anymore. Curt was that escape, he was the last bit of humanity and normalcy that Rat had. And now all he has left is the death and agony of the

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