They Things They Carried. Explication Essay

1296 Words Oct 13th, 2009 6 Pages
Life in a Warzone
Reading the short story “The Things they carried,” by Tim O Brien, creates a mesmerizing image of a war zone. It describes the tough war times for American soldiers fighting in the Vietnam War. The story is a literary portrayal of the material and mental pressures on the soldiers, who strive to survive physically and mentally in the war. “The things they carried” talks about how heavily equipped are American Soldiers, and how a group of them carried numerous tools and weapons as war materials. It presents the environment of Lieutenant Jimmy Cross and fellow soldiers. They used to be loaded with survival goods and weapons all the time during Vietnam War. They carried all possible equipments such as
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These things could be Bibles, comic books, condoms, personal diaries or their own thoughts. Soldiers also carried weight on their minds, and especially Lieutenant Cross, as he was the leader of his battalion and responsible for the lives of his men. Among Lieutenant Cross’s crew was a soldier, Ted Lavender. Ted Lavender, like all soldiers, was a survivor in the harsh circumstances of warfare. His emotional balance was maintained by dope. He carried six or seven ounces of dope till he died, as explained in paragraph 2 that the dope “was a necessity for him.” This line is from the second paragraph and it shows Ted Lavender’s dependence on dope. Ted Lavender’s drug dependence had bad effects on his mind and also on his crew. The line “But Ted Lavender who was scared, carried thirty-four rounds,” paragraph 11, tells about Lavender got paranoid, and carried extra burden of ammunition on the day he got shot. Moreover, after his death, ex-associates who carried his body were smoking his dope. This tells that Ted Lavender’s drug habits had significant influence on other soldiers. Along with this, reading about how Lieutenant Cross’s juniors would joke and talk to each other also gives a surety that Ted Lavender’s drug addiction definitely had a negative influence on the troops. As all the soldiers mentioned in the story were part of a single battalion. Lieutenant Jimmy Cross’s spiritual

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