Essay On Emotional Burdens In The Vietnam War

Improved Essays
Emotional Burdens in the Vietnam War and Tim O’Brien Vietnam soldiers during the war carried emotional burdens because of seeing their mates being killed, the constant fear of death and the traumatic events they were involved. The effects persevere in their minds during and after the war causing a lost in personality and PTSD. The author Tim O’Brien dedicated his life writing about the Vietnam War. The author’s personal experiences and the guilt of forming part of a war he opposed, were part of his inspiration for writing about the Vietnam War. Soldiers in the Vietnam War carried as an emotional burden the loss of their mates and some that saw the traumatic events were marked for life, including those who were directly involved. In the Vietnam …show more content…
Cold-blooded killing was part of the Vietnam War and no boundaries or rules were followed. Soldiers were constantly paranoid of getting shot by a sniper rifle or being blown up into pieces by all kinds of trap explosives that were used against them. The Vietnam War was not a conventional war, their experience with deadly traps and South Vietnamese oppositions of war threatening US soldiers, caused paranoia in them The constant thinking that they could die anytime or be killed by a Vietnamese, erased the line between Vietnam guerrillas and the Vietnam civilians leaving US armed forces with mental disorders (Hochgesang et al). The My Lai massacre reflects the inhuman type of war that had taken place in Vietnam and the changed in US soldiers that went from civilians to heartless killers, this because of their burdens caused by the exposure of War atrocities. The My Lai massacre was a result of the psychological damage caused by inhuman War environment these soldiers lived and in his writing, Josh Hochgesang et al acknowledge that “[US armed forces] felt they could not trust any of the Vietnamese, which made them paranoid most of the time. They constantly feared death and were deeply traumatized as they saw their comrades being shredded to pieces by bullets and mines.” The weight of their burdens caused them PTSD and loss …show more content…
The author’s “experiences in Vietnam shaped the nature and focus of most of his later writing” (Sallas) and form part of the root of his inspiration. The author O’Brien writes about the event when he lost his friend Chip and soldier mate in Vietnam, when they were blown up to pieces by a grenade (98) in his book If I Die, respectively reflecting his trauma of losing a friend in combat. Through his books he details and reveals his experiences, also makes known that his “service in the Americal Division presented him with jarring, traumatic material, but also made writing a need rather than a choice” (Sallas) to free from his burdens of being part of the Vietnam War. O’Brien combines his personal experiences with a sense of fiction to address the realities of war and make known his own story in Vietnam. Although O’Brien was not part of the My Lai massacre, he shows a certain connection to the place in his book In Lake of Woods, because 13 months after the 1968 massacre, O’Brien division patrolled the area of My Lai, where he was wounded during service and as result was awarded a purple hurt (Herzog

Related Documents

  • Superior Essays

    Traumatic experiences that soldiers witnessed during the war have negatively impacted soldiers’ psychologies, their social lives and their personalities. The Vietnam War impacted American veterans individual psychologies in a negative way. Most of the soldiers witnessed violence, horror and their friends’ bloody death. For instance, “I watched…

    • 1059 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Great Essays

    The men of the Vietnam war were already traumatized, at as young as eighteen, that they couldn’t handle any extra fear, embarrassment, or shame. This is the cause of many suicides or self-harming committed by soldiers who were previously in the war. This teaches the reader to be careful to what one exposes themselves to and to also be cautious to how one treats others because anyone could be experiencing large amount of emotional pain of shame, guilt, and embarrassment. Shame is a strong motivator that can affect one’s life in an instant. Tim O’Brien in, The Things They Carried, tells the many…

    • 1404 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Superior Essays

    However, the formation of these relationships led to the heartbreak of losing some of the military members, a concept of history often glazed upon when discussing major battles. Often describing the troops as ‘poor’ (Poor soldiers, poor young man, etc.) Martin sympathized with his fellow troops and the experiences that they had, as he was also put through many of the same coniditions. Within his story, Martin describes the death of one his roommates near the end of the war and how the man died a very un-patriotic death due to a self-inflected injury. “… who had braved the hardships and perils of the war til the very close of it, ‘died as a fool dieth …’” (169) The death of this man was the basic equivalent of losing a close family member.…

    • 1308 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Furthermore, it influenced the people at home and the families of the casualties. In this book, the author presents many examples of soldiers that either have guilt feelings or they cannot sleep. O’Brien writes about all the dead people that he encountered along his journey in Vietnam, and how in the military every casualty is just a number. All the killing and the unnecessary killing was justified by saying “This is war”. Death was part of everyday life when you are in battle and being a soldier you have to live with it on a regular basis.…

    • 1440 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    In the book The Things They Carried, author Tim O’Brien tells the horrific experiences of a platoon of American soldiers in the Vietnam War. This platoon goes through many hardships, which on the way cause many people to die and to completely change their personalities. O’Brien depicts the awful emotional and psychological conditions the American soldiers experienced during the Vietnam War. The way O’Brien depicts these topics by talking about many points like the items the soldiers carried, the soldiers coping with death and violence, and finally how life back in the United States seemed to weigh upon them. O’Brien starts depict the psychological conditions of the soldiers by explaining the significance of the actual things they carried into battle.…

    • 1274 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    If you loved one have to go to Vietnam, you may lose him. At the next section, he said: “War, I despite, because it means destruction of innocent life.” War is cruel, it led to thousands of people died in foreign countries. Before that years, not every many people realize the Vietnam war was a big issue, they just thought American military fight with other countries’ army and people in order to hold back communism. With more and more soldiers hurt and died, American people started to know the real meaning of war. It only contains sadness and casualties; those American soldiers were innocent; it can not get anything else.…

    • 1960 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    The Neverending War War will never end for the soldiers who are among the living, the ones who have seen the end are dead. The novel The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien tells what he and his fellow soldiers had experienced in the vietnam war, during and after, what they had to do and how they feel. There thought’s were not only just on the war, but on their family and friends. In the soldiers heads, they are constantly thinking of the past, mostly the war, and what they had to do. In the novel The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien, shows the theme of grief and shame the soldiers experienced during the war and after the war, to them the war never ended.…

    • 1062 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    America from the 1950’s to the 1970’s was in complete turmoil. The Vietnam War had taken over and fear was instilled into the lives of Americans everywhere. There was the fear of being drafted, the fear of loved ones leaving, the fear of loved ones dying, and the fear of war itself. Although society wanted to believe the war was notable and heroic, many did not think that way. Men who were sent over to Vietnam during the war were stripped of their lives and forced to adapt to life under attack.…

    • 1144 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Whitman uses this line to end each of his stanzas to emphasize the fact that there were many losses to the war, each one significant to different people. This loss characterized by the Captain further develops the fact that the emotional scars of war are from the deaths of many companions during war. Many people developed friends while they were fighting in wars, the Captain symbolizes the loss of those friends. On the other hand, the captain could also symbolize a “fatherly figure” as the soldiers view him as a father With the use of symbolism, Whitman, like Owen, portrays the painful reality of war and its horrific effects on those…

    • 1009 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The veterans from the war are today still struggling to keep a job, save a relationship, isolated themselves, and a mixture of emotions like anxiety, depression, and anger. Some veterans even attempt suicide. This correlates with the story by O’Brien because on page 1093 he describes what the soldiers are feeling and the mental toll the war. He describes the soldiers carrying their reputations and being afraid of being call cowards. The soldiers hoped to die in combat so that the hint of dishonor would label on…

    • 794 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays

Related Topics