The Destruction Of War In Tim O Brien's The Things They Carried

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The Destruction of a War Often, when people think about war, they easily paint a picture of death and physical suffering placed in a chaotic environment. However, even though this image generally is accurately related to war, the period that comes after war should also be considered when imagining the reality of a war. This period after combat is the stage of a different kind of battle: the daily attempt of survival that the remaining soldiers have to go through, in which they have to face their post-traumatic experience and live with their psychological damage that remained from war. In his novel “The Things They Carried”, the author Tim O’Brien, who is also the narrator of the book, shares some fictional stories about him and soldiers that …show more content…
The narrator Tim O’Brien shares in the chapter “On the Rainy River” his experience from being drafted to go to war and about the period before he was sent to war. O’Brien shares the narrator’s reaction when being selected to go to war in a traumatic way, he writes, “I remember opening up the letter, scanning the first few lines, feeling the blood go thick behind my eyes. I remember a sound in my head. It wasn 't thinking, just a silent howl. A million things all at once—I was too good for this war. Too smart, too compassionate, too everything. It couldn 't happen. I was above it” (pg.36). The fact of the narrator is helpless and overthinking about his compulsory draft shows how war can start to consume soldiers’ sanity before the battle even starts. This passage symbolizes the reality that happened during the war: the obligatory draft of soldiers to go to the Vietnam War. In addition, the narrator’s character represents a group of men that were forced to go to combat against their wills, which emphasizes how negative war can be to people’s lives. With that said, the author wants to show the negative impact that war has in people even before they are in the battlefield, and how it can damage the soldier prior going to …show more content…
In his novel, Tim O’Brien presents through some stories, such as “The Man I Killed” and “Night Life”, the challenge that is to the soldiers to preserve their sanity while the battle is still going on, and how the events are impactful to these soldier’s lives. The narrator exemplifies this situation with Rat’s post-traumatic story that results at Rat shooting himself, O’Brien says, “At first Rat just sank inside himself, not saying a word, but then later on, after five or six days, it flipped the other way. He couldn 't stop talking. Weird talk, too. (…) It was a sad thing to watch. Definitely not the old Rat Kiley. His whole personality seemed out of kilter” (pg. 151). With this passage, the author wants to show the readers how the series of disasters that can happen in war are able to degrade a person’s character and make them succumb under pressure. In addition, this story is important to notice the fact that even though the character Rat Kiley acted in a way that could be considered as cowardly by shooting himself to get dismissed from war, the other soldiers understand that as an act of courage. By presenting this situation, the author shows how soldiers are connected as one unit when fighting together because they can relate to the situation, once they have lived through similar events. With this in mind, this passage also helps the perceiving of the platoon as a common entity, so it

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