The Ball And Chains Of War Essay

793 Words Feb 14th, 2016 4 Pages
The Ball and Chains of War In the short story, “The Things They Carried”, Tim O’Brien does an excellent job of using various literary elements to develop a theme of the emotional and physical burdens soldiers endure. The two main literary elements that develop this theme most clearly are his uses of character, and use of symbolism. In “The Things They Carried”, Tim O’Brien narrates a story in first person about being drafted into the army and fighting in Vietnam. He tells us of a man who left a girl he loved. He tells us of all the physical items his squadron had to carry. He describes his everyday life as a soldier, and what seems tragic to us is just another thing that soldiers see every day and must carry on with. The themes being developed are the physical and emotional burdens that they, the soldiers, carry and how unbearable and apathetic war is. Tim O’Brien uses the character, Lieutenant Jimmy Cross to show most of the emotional burdens. He makes the choice to leave a girl he loves named Martha. Not only does he have to carry the supplies required for every soldier and his letters and photos that he remembers Martha by, he also has to carry his love for her. This is demonstrated in the sentence stating, “To carry is to “hump” it, as Lieutenant Jimmy Cross humped his love for Martha up the hills and through the swamps” (O’Brien 115). Wording it this way, demonstrates how Lieutenant Jimmy Cross’s love for Martha was like a ball and chain, making it much…

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