Free Things They Carried Essays: Communists And Capitalists

566 words - 2 pages

Communists and Capitalists in The Things They Carried  


The Vietnam War was directly related to the Cold War, where the communists and the capitalists used balance-of-power politics to keep the other from dominating the world. Yet, there was a role reversal amongst the soldiers fighting for the capitalists and democracy. Many of the soldiers made deals amongst themselves, which were in essence communist, stating that should one become injured or severely wounded, their "buddy" would end the soldier's suffering by killing him. This is seen in "Enemies" and "Friends".


"Enemies" and "Friends" tell the tale of two soldiers who initially do not get along, but through the course of the war, form a bond that holds even through death. In the opening sentence, O'Brien says, "Lee Strunk and Dave Jensen got into a fistfight."(62) In doing so, he shows the high tensions of the entire war. The friction and animosity are evident between the USSR and the USA and North Vietnam and South Vietnam, but to show the tension within the same army proves just how drastic and surreal the conditions that existed during the conflict. This sets the stage for one of the most ironic twists during the Cold War.


Communism, Marx's economic model, is a very communist ideal. By saying communist, this is referring to the ideals of brotherhood and camaraderie, not Marx's beliefs, which are primarily economic. The North Vietnamese were fighting for both Marx's ideals and communist ideals, but there was no clear line between the two. Social and economic radicalizations were inseparable, so, in fighting for communism, they were fighting for two sets of ideals. The irony comes when the...

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