People feel guilt for many different reasons. For many people, guilt is felt when they tell a lie or do something that they know is wrong and get away with it. In “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien, the men in the book deal with a different kind of guilt. These men deal with the guilt that many people deal with after losing a loved one or a comrade. This guilt is difficult to cope with, and the men all have different ways of coping with their guilt. Three men who had to deal with guilt are Tim O’Brien, Lieutenant Cross, and Bob Kiley (a.k.a. Rat Kiley)
The death of a loved one or a comrade is hard to deal with. When guilt is added, it becomes even more difficult to deal with. These men have 3 very different ways of coping with their guilt. One man brutally kills a baby buffalo. One man burns pictures of a girl he loved to help him focus. The last man wrote stories to cope with the things he did during the war.
Rat Kiley has to deal with the guilt of losing a close friend in the war. It happened on a day of humping. The men stopped in a very peaceful place to take a break and relax. Rat Kiley and his friend Curt Lemon sat under some giant trees with a quadruple canopy and no sun light getting through. The two men began to play a game of chicken with smoke grenades. They would throw them back and forth until one of the two chickened out or got covered in smoke from the grenade. Smoke grenades were harmless, so when one went off the men danced around and giggled, having a good time.
Curt Lemon and Rat Kiley were having a lot of fun under their canopy of trees. After a while of the two men playing with the smoke grenades, Curt Lemon steps out from under the trees. When he takes a step, he triggers a booby trapped 105 round. When the round goes off, he is blown to pieces. The pieces end up scattered in the trees above. All the other men can do is watch.
The men end up having to peel pieces of Curt Lemon off of the tree and the canopy. Dave Jensen and Tim O’Brien are ordered to climb the tree and take the debris from Curt Lemons body and throw it down to the people below. Dave Jensen’s way to cope with the event is to sing “Lemon Tree” as they throw down the parts of Curt.
Rat Kiley keeps his emotions inside him for the day. Later in the day the men stumble across a baby buffalo. The buffalo is tied up and brought with the group. The group and the buffalo hump for hours, until dinner. Rat finds a way to cope with his anger and frustration about losing a friend at dinner.
At dinner, Rat goes up to the buffalo and strokes its nose and offers it some C rations. After the buffalo rejects the food, Rat steps back. He takes his gun and shoots the buffalo in the knee. He then shoots it in the ear, hind quarters, flanks, back, and mouth with the gun. He then takes an automatic weapon and fires off short spurts of rounds until he ran out of ammo. He then reloaded and took aim and shot the other knee. Rat proceeded to shoot it in the nose and the...