War In Tim O 'Brien's The Things They Carried'

Improved Essays
Robin Jean-Baptiste
Ms.Higgins/Slater
English 12 Pd.1
8 January 2015
War...Is the toll worth it?
“READY THE RPG...AIM...FIRE IN THE HOLE!!! *a loud blast echoes* the sound of screaming circles the battlefield”, writes Dr. John Zemler after waking up in cold sweat from his flashback memory of war. This is what most soldiers from P.T.S.D. deal with on a daily basis. Tim O’Brien is a retired, army, Vietnam veteran and critically acclaimed author who has written memoirs and war stories such as Going After Cacciato and The Things They Carried. The Things They Carried is Tim O’Brien’s collection of short stories about his experiences as a soldier in the Vietnam War. P.T.S.D., also known as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is “A condition marked by
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Dave Jensen displays the perfect example of this as he showed symptoms of P.T.S.D after a violent dispute between Lee Strunk and himself which resulted in him breaking his own nose. “Jensen couldn't relax...At night he had trouble sleeping—a skittish feeling—always on guard, hearing strange noises in the dark, imagining a grenade rolling into his foxhole or the tickle of a knife against his ear....It got to the point finally where he lost control. Something must've snapped...One afternoon he began firing his weapon into the air, yelling Strunk's name...But that wasn't the bizarre part. Because late that same night he borrowed a pistol, gripped it by the barrel, and used it like a hammer to break his own nose.” (Tim O’Brien, 63). This quote about Jensen reveals that P.T.S.D. made him lose control of his thoughts and made him have extreme anxiety over what Lee Strunk might do to him in an act of revenge for breaking his nose. The Journal of American Medical Association states that “Hyperarousal—feeling “on guard” or irritable...having sudden outbursts of anger” (JAMA, What is P.T.S.D.). This medical research quote explains that it is common for people suffering from P.T.S.D. to produce burst of anger as a means of expressing that pain and anxiety which has resulted from the toll, war puts on the lives of …show more content…
This is displayed by the author of The Things They Carried where he speaks about the time he got shot and suffered from severe shock and being away from his platoon while he recovered from his injury. “I felt something shift inside of me. It was anger, partly, but it was also a sense of pure and total loss: I didn't fit anymore. They were soldiers, I wasn't” (O'Brien, 198). “I remembered how the bullet had made a soft puffing noise inside me. I remembered lying there for a long while, listening to the river, the gunfire and voices, how I kept calling out for a medic but how nobody came and how I finally reached back and touched the hole” (O’Brien, 200-201). These quotes explain how Tim had developed P.T.S.D. and continued to suffer from this after his recovery. O’Brien was unable to live with the fact that while he was recovering he was physically and mentally being destroyed at the fact he couldn’t be with his platoon, he was forced to lay in bed and just watch. The Journal of American Medical Association writes that “Approximately 11 million US adults have posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)” (JAMA, Posttraumatic Stress

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