Soldier Symbolism

862 Words 4 Pages
Throughout human existence it is evident that the items we possess somehow symbolize and represent who we really are. Every item we possess, no matter how big or small, has some sort of correlation to a person's character within. As shown in the short story The Things They Carried the author Tim O’Brien heavily emphasizes the items every soldier carried to instill the belief that each item represents a part of someone's human nature or disposition. These items may be seen as something of little importance to many or of great necessity to others; however, deep inside it illustrates an idea which signifies the meaning of a person's true character. Overall, in the short story The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien uses symbolism and repetition …show more content…
The repetition of what each soldier does in the war explains why each soldier carries certain items. For example, O’Brien states “As a first lieutenant and platoon leader, Jimmy Cross, carried a compass, maps, code books, binoculars, and .45 caliber pistol… Rat Kiley carried a canvas satchel filled with morphine and plasma… Henry Dobbin carried the M-60 (always loaded)” (pg.471). The repetition of what the soldiers carried doesn't only describe their function as a soldier, but it describes what type of person they are deep inside and outside the war. The things Rat Kiley carries show he is a doctor and a person that saves lives, yet Kiley is actually is somebody who is intelligent and fearless. The things Kiley carried show his knowledge because of his comprehension he has on using his items and it shows he is fearless because of his relentless help on the fierceful battlefield. Similarly, Jimmy Cross items show he is the leader. Instead of being a leader, the things he carries reveal that Cross is the smartest, the bravest, and the wisest due to the fact that he is in control of everything and has the capability of doing so. Also, Tim O’Brien mentions that Cross “carried a strobe light and the responsibility for the lives of his men” (471). This shows his responsibility for the lives of others, which analytically illustrates that the light Cross carried serves as the light to guide his platoon. The items soldiers carry provide a sense of what the function of everybody is; however, within every object there is value and because of value there is hidden characteristics within those who don't openly exhibit

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