Tim O Brien's The Things They Carried: Character Analysis

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Death is a key element in most war stories, and even though Tim O’Brien claims The Things They Carried is a love story, death plays an important role. While in Vietnam, several of his friends die in front of him, and later he reveals that his first love died at a young age. Each death that the narrator mentions leads to a change in him. Linda was the first person he knew who died, Lemon was an innocent kid, who died pointlessly in a war, and Lieutenant Cross blames himself for Ted Lavender’s death. Although O’Brien presents these deaths as facts, the Cracked Podcast suggests that memories are not as exact as previously thought. In Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, the narrator retells deaths that became life-changing moments for him, because memories can easily be manipulated, the reader must decide what is true and what is a false memory.
Since the narrator was traumatized by Lemon’s unexpected death, he retells the story, which leads
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O’Brien was inconsistent in several of his stories and he confuses his love of a fantasy with events from real life. The podcast revealed that memories are not very reliable and can be altered over time. O’Brien even confesses that when he said, “You look away, and then look back, then away. The pictures get jumbled; you tend to miss a lot” (71). O’Brien understands that he might have made mistakes when retelling his story, so the title appears as, “The Things They Carried a work of fiction by Tim O’Brien.” Although O’Brien admits that he might have fabricated some of the events in the book, many journalists, and authors don’t do the same. Eyewitness testimonies and self-accounts are easily compromised, but no one ever admits that memories can be anything less than reliable. After accepting this hard truth, judging whether or not a source is reliable will become easier in everyday

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