Essay on The Things They Carried By Tim O ' Brien

1855 Words Aug 11th, 2014 8 Pages
The Vietnam War started in 1959, causing 58,119 american deaths (Hickman). In “The

Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien, O’Brien describes how the rookie soldiers feel through

the hard times of the war. All the soldiers are frightened, but refuse to show their inner fear. It is

not until Ted Lavender, a new recruit to the group who actually shows his uneasiness, separates

to use the restroom and gets shot. The squad consists of Jimmy Cross, the 24 year old lieutenant

who is in charge, Mitchell Sanders, Kiowa, Henry Dobbins, Dave Jensen, Ted Lavender,

Norman Bowker, and Rat Kiley. Jimmy Cross plays an important role in the story where he

blames himself for Ted Lavender’s death. This tragedy causes him to be more alert of his

soldiers and become a better fighter in the field. The story “The Things They Carried” reflects on

the Vietnam war because it demonstrates the soldiers deep feelings and emotions, the pressure

the characters had to carry, and the similarity of experience throughout the war, all which were

lived by Vietnam War veterans.

“The Things They Carried” is set in the times of the Vietnam War. Throughout the whole

story there is a motif of Ted Lavender’s death. Ted Lavender is the character who shows the

most fear out of his group. He is the “dead weight” (O’Brien 429). The beginning of the story

introduces Jimmy Cross’ affection to his friend Martha. He constantly thinks about her

distracting him from the war…

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