Stories Of The Vietnam War Illustrated In O’brien’s The Things They Carried

802 words - 3 pages

Tim O’Brien’s book, The Things They Carried, portrays stories of the Vietnam War. Though not one hundred percent accurate, the stories portray important historical events. The Things They Carried recovers Vietnam War history and portrays situations the American soldiers faced. The United States government represents a political power effect during the Vietnam War. The U. S. enters the war to prevent a communist takeover of South Vietnam. The U.S. government felt if communism spreads to South Vietnam, then it will spread elsewhere. Many Americans disapproved of their country’s involvement. Men traveled across the border to avoid the draft. The powerful United States government made the decision to enter the war, despite many Americans’ opposition. O’Brien’s The Things They Carried applies New Historicism elements, including Vietnam history recovery and the political power of the United States that affected history.
The Things They Carried describes real objects American soldiers carried during the war. They carried an M-60, a .45-caliber pistol, an assault rifle, ammunition, compass, maps, code books, the PRC-25 radio, sandbags, tanning lotion, toilet paper, tranquilizers, rabbit’s foot, Purple Hearts, diseases, the wounded, the weak, and the land itself. Many soldiers experienced horrific events in Vietnam. War affects the mind. O’Brien said, “We all got problems.” (O’Brien 18). O’Brien relates one example of the war’s negative effect when a soldier shoots a baby water buffalo. He not only wants to kill the animal, but to make it suffer. Silence disturbs soldiers. Many times soldiers think they hear something which results in a bad decision. O’Brien describes a group on night watch who hear noises, go crazy, and call an air strike. In reality, there was nothing present. The soldiers also see death as a normal experience. One time they simply walk up to a dead man and shake his hand as if greeting a live person. Historically, soldiers experienced similar events. The Things They Carried recovers real history.
The United States political power affected history. The U. S. government wanted to prevent communism from spreading. Many Americans disapproved of their country’s involvement. O’Brien stated, “You don’t make war without knowing why . . . when a nation goes to war it must have reasonable confidence in the justice and imperative of its cause. You can’t fix your...

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