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Tim O'brien's "The Things They Carried".

783 words - 3 pages

Tim O'Brien's "The Things They Carried" (reprinted in Edgar V. Roberts and Henry E. Jacobs, Literature and an Introduction to Reading and Writing, Sixth edition. [Upper Saddle River and Prentice-Hall, 2001] 77-88) is centered on the realism of the types of things the soldiers in the Vietnam War carried. The realism of all the physical and emotional, tangible and intangible things they carried are vividly described throughout the entire story. The realism of the weights of many different tangible objects that are physically carried and the realism of the emotional, intangible items and the unpredictability of their surroundings brings this story to life. The presentation of realism is incorporated throughout the entire story.Throughout this story the platoon set in Vietnam are physically carrying items, a burden in itself. We see many items with true realism. An accurate description and the physical weight of each item are described in full detail. "Steel helmets that weighed 5 pounds including the liner and camouflage cover", "Jungle boots, 2.1 pounds" [78], are a few of the items the men carried. Along with "A .45-caliber pistol that weighed 2.9 pounds fully loaded" a "PRC-25 radio, a killer, 26 pounds with its battery" [79]. With these real descriptions we are able to visualize all the items O'Brien is depicting throughout the story. Each item is described so accurately it's as if you can feel the weight of these many items at your fingertips.In the very beginning of the story First Lieutenant Jimmy Cross is carrying love letters from a girl named Martha. [77] Throughout the story he is truly distracted by the very letters he adores and that keep him motivated, and sane. The emotional ties to these personal items from Martha, in turn are what make him despise her. He is so emotionally involved with these distracting items and person; he feels he fails his platoon by not being in a clear state of mind to keep them safe. Martha kept him distracted in wishes of being with her that he feels he has failed everyone that looks up to him for answers, guidance, and safety. The men in the platoon carried pencils, stationary, and pictures of their loved ones-real and imagined. These are vivid examples of the emotional burdens all these men carried.The unpredictability of the soldier's...

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