The Things They Carried By Tim O'brien

1497 words - 6 pages

Tim O’Brien wrote the novel The Things They Carried in 1990, twenty years after the war in Vietnam.In the novel,Obrien takes us through the life of many soliders by telling stories that do not go in chronical order. In doing so we get to see the physical and mental things the soldiers carry throughout the war in Vietnam.Yet the novel is more than just a description of a particular war. In the things they carried Tim O’Brien develops the characters in the book slowly, to show the gradual effect war has on a person. O’Brien shows this by exploring the life of Henry Dobbins, and Norman Bowker.

Anger can be a cover up for guilt, shame, and vulnerability in the book O’Brien shows us these parts of Henry Dobbins. O’Brien starts Henry Dobbins of as the tough guy of the group, but gradually we get to see the other side of Henry Dobbins. In addition we see this in the first chapter “As a big man, therefore a machine gunner Henry Dobbins carried the M-60, which weighed 23 pounds unloaded, but which was almost always loaded “(O'Brien.5). In this first encounter O’Briens letting you know the physical strength that Dobbins had. Him being the strongest, tallest, and most feared of the whole group. In the next couple of chapters O’Brien doesn’t really mention nor talk about Dobbins in depth. Then all of sudden in the 10th chapter of the book “stockings” O'Brien gives us a whole chapter about Dobbins. In stockings O’Brien says that Dobbins is the epitmy of America at the time of the Vietnam war. “big and strong, full of good intentions a roll of fat jiggling at his belly, slow of foot but always plodding along, always there when you needed him, a believer in the virtues of simplicity and directness and hard labor “(O'Brien.13). O’Brien ways saying that just like America at the time who was very powerful they felt like they were helping the Vietnamese people (Add more stuff make more sense).
On the other hand later on O’Brian starts exploring the more vulnerable side of Dobbins.He starts this off when he talks about how Dobbins wore pantyhose around his neck. The stockings used to belong to Dobbins girlfriend but know he uses it as a defense machinimas against the pain of the war. To Dobbins when he wears the pantyhose he feels invincible like nothing can hurt him but in reality the pantyhose can’t actually save him from the bullet. This is the first time in the book we see a vulnerable side of Dobbins and we also get to see the spiritual side of Henry Dobbins “Dobbins felt the pull of superstition, and he believed firmly and absolutely in the protective power of the stockings “(O'Brien.112). After setting the basis for who Dobbins was, in the next chapter after stockings is church.
In contrast the next chapter church is when O'Brien starts to show the guilt and remorseful side of Dobbins. In church Henry Dobbins along with the other men in his group set up camp at an abandoned church where Monks live. Out of the whole group Dobbins is the only person who...

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