The Things They Carried Analysis

903 words - 4 pages

Analyzing the author Tim O'Brien's "The Things They Carried", can only demonstrate that it is carefully crafted, detailing in account of a Lieutenant and his men, the time period being right in the middle of the Vietnam war. In most war stories the author spends most of his or her time describing actions and events to the reader, trying to really put the reader "right there" in the middle of everything that is happening. However, O'Brien drifts away from that trend here, hardly describing any events of importance to anyone. Rather, he focuses on the thoughts of the soldiers, the inner feelings, small personal daydreams and strange things that really describe the men. Being out in the wilderness, far from home or anything they recognize, these men must deal with the mental and physical stresses of war, when they join the army I see it as signing away their souls.An interesting observation when reading the story is the fact that the story is written in third person (which one of the three types?). The narrator is not actually in the story, merely telling us of the events, and yet we still get to see inside Lt. Cross's mind to more accurately picture his feelings (?You need a quote at this point to illustrate the point of view). . The narrator also, although letting us see the innermost, personal thoughts of Cross, always refers to the Lieutenant as either "he," "him," or "Lt. Cross," never speaking of him by only his first name, which may seem rather formal(*Good point). Also, it is odd that O'Brien the author should choose the third person to write in when creating a story such as this one. Usually when an author wants the reader to feel what the main character is feeling, they will write the story in the first person point of view, to give the events and thoughts a more personal touch. However, the way O'Brien phrases his sentences, it is really very simple for the reader to get that accurate feeling for the main character, even though it is not the main character speaking. For example, there is a part of the story, which speaks about Lt. Cross's feelings. "On the morning after Ted Lavender died, First Lieutenant Jimmy Cross crouched at the bottom of his foxhole and burned Martha's letters. Then he burned the two photographs. There was a steady rain falling . . . He realized it was only a gesture. Stupid, he thought. Sentimental, too, but mostly just stupid. Lavender was dead. You couldn't burn the blame." (Paragraph 82)(*wonderful quote which illustrates the concept of distance also as we move from facts and actions to his thoughts""like...

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