The Things They Carried: Purpose Of Third Person

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The Things They Carried: Purpose of Third Person
In Tim O’Brien’s:The Things They Carried, the narrator switches from a third person perspective to a first person perspective a few times. He does this to provide a general understanding of war as well as to detach himself from the truth.
In the first chapter, O’Brien uses the third person point of view to help the reader connect to all of the soldiers more easily. Since war is not a one-man job, this point of view symbolizes the idea that all the men were going through the same thing. The title of the book/chapter is “The Things They Carried” because the soldiers carried burdens and memories individually, but they carried even more burdens as a group. In this chapter, O’Brien states: “They carried the soldier’s greatest fear, which was the fear of blushing. Men killed, and died, because they were embarrassed not to”(). In this quote, the third person point of view gives an overview on the soldier’s unsaid responsibilities. Every soldier carried this burden with them, and this
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Although first person helps the reader connect to the narrator and his/her motives throughout their story, the third person perspective gives the reader an overall understanding of the themes. Especially in war stories, it can be hard to imagine being in the Vietnam War when all that is given is the perspective of one soldier. Everyone’s reactions to events are different and that is why it was important for O’Brien to include the third person perspective in his book. Additionally, war is very traumatizing and third person creates distance between the narrator and the traumatic experiences of war. This allows the narrator to reflect on past events while staying away from horrific emotional memories. In The Things They Carried the third person perspective is a tool to help civilians understand the feeling of being in

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