Sexism In Tim O Brien's The Things They Carried

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In Tim O’Brien’s novel, The Things They Carried, he shows the struggles that American soldiers’ experience in the Vietnam war. In one of the short stories the “Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong” one of the soldiers, Mark Fossie, brings over Mary Anne Bell, his high school sweetheart, from back home. She quickly becomes curious about her surroundings in a foreign country far from home and what occurs around them in Vietnam, where she learns of the power and destruction of war. Mary Anne Bell represents the innocence that has been stolen from the soldiers, which dehumanizes them after exposure to war. Mark Fossie’s girlfriend, is seventeen years old just as young as the rest of the soldiers in Vietnam. Initially she is curious about her boyfriend’s …show more content…
Young American women like Mary Anne often symbolize peace and comfort almost like a still flower or a puppy that can’t harm anything yet which proves that the most unharmful people can quickly transform to beasts. Sexism does not apply where only a male can submit to the dangers of war, but Tim O’Brien shows that a pacifist woman too can become a monster. “The girl gazed down at Fossie, almost blankly..her eyes: utterly flat and indifferent. There was no emotion in her stare, no sense of the person behind it. At the girl’s throat was a necklace of human tongues”(105). In this passage we read that Mary anne looks the same but just like how the rest of the boys got drafted and had the experience behind the action and witnessing the war her body is alive but her civil mind had gotten lost. MaryAnne had noone to turn to, and the tongues on her neck symbolize the silences of war; meaning not being able to express or cope their feelings will eventually kill them. In this case Mary Anne mentally lost her way and turned into a walking dead person. Apart from that, O’Brien puts a fictional woman to show how easy it is for these young veterans to enter the war and go through these uncivil transformations. Once this trauma is in play for quite sometime twenty-four hours a day; it’s hard to fit back into society because they’re animal instincts have been enabled to …show more content…
Mary Anne is a fictional character by O’Brien as he states at the end of the novel. And as happening truth seems unreal like a dream, story-telling truth is more real just like how creating stories to perfect women into these cookie cutters shapes shows that these perfect human being can fall into the death trap of war. O’Brien writes about Mary Anne’s eyes being dull when she arrives and after the three weeks in Tra Bong; however, the first dull is of innocence where she has no clue of anything upstairs in hair head, as opposed to the ending dull where she has lost her innocence and now knows too much of war. Being young and a woman in Vietnam war Mary Anne shows how dangerous and how greatly dramatized O 'Brien showed the war in Vietnam was, because women are pitied more than men; by story telling how this young woman was quickly felt alive by the war “and burn away into nothing” so did the young men in the war and that’s how he gets at the truth in

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