Rat Kiley Character Analysis

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In The Things they Carried, By Tim O 'Brien, there are three characters that are greatly changed by the Vietnam War those characters being Rat Kiley the medic, Mary Anne an all American girl and well-educated liberal minded Tim O’Brien. Each character comes to Vietnam in 1968 at the height of the Vietnam War with a level of goodness in their hearts that is instilled in all Americans who have never seen war. After going to war it changes a these people by taking away a piece of that goodness within and replaces it with a dehumanized addiction to war that drives many to the brink of insanity.
Rat Kilely was good person and a great medic and was pushed to do evil when he lost his best friend right in front of him. His best friend was named Curt
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By taking his friend the war took away his goodness and he now wanted cold revenge upon this buffalo when it had done nothing to him. Rat started shooting the buffalo all over so it felt every single piece of the pain he had felt, systematically shooting every possible appendage. One of his platoon mates Mitchel Sander responds to this by saying “Well, that’s Nam” he said “Garden of evil. Over, man, every sin’s real fresh and original”(76). In war nothing is humane, every person is affected by evils whether it happens to them or they do it to others, it’s impossible to avoid. Rat had been pushed by the war to preform evil and was not able to regain his sanity. After being in the war for so long Rat had not only lost the goodness we are all born with, he also loses himself in the war. After being a medic for so long “He said he was scared. And it wasn’t normal scared. He didn’t know what it was: too long in the country, probably. Or else he wasn’t cut out to be a medic. Always policing up parts, he said. Always plugging up holes. Sometimes he’d stare at guys who were still okay, the alive guys, a he’d start to picture how they’d look dead. Without arm or legs that sort of …show more content…
Tim O’Brien was a very liberal before he went to the war he didn’t believe in the war and knew that there was much more to it then a fight versus communism, but a much larger issue. When he gets to Vietnam he still has the goodness that is within all us. The war changes that in him. After fighting for so long and seeing so many evil things Tim became addicted to the war. It became like a drug and he needed more fighting and more death it was becoming a part of him that he couldn’t loose. When Tim was first in Vietnam he refuses to do evil and dehumanize death to justify it. Kiowa his good friend tells him “You did a good thing today” he said. “That shaking hands crap, it isn’t decent. The guys will hassle you for a whole especially Jensen- but just keep saying no. Should’ve don it myself. Takes gut, I know that”(215). He has to keep pushing back against the evil in Vietnam that all of around him. Each death should not be justified because he death means something to somebody and if you forget that then your have lost the ideals that make us human. Later on in the war things change for Tim he gets shot and is forced out of combat. He still wants to be part of the danger he “ missed the adventure, even the danger, of the real war out in the boonies. Its hard thing to explain to

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