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Emotional Experiences In Tim O´Brien´S The Things They Carried

3413 words - 14 pages

Most stories about war show the glory of war and heroism of soldiers. According to OED, war is “a state of armed conflict between different nations or states or different groups within a nation or state”. But, what’s the definition about the stage of confusions in the soldier’s mind? A conflict between two nations or states can be resolved in a particular amount of time but can an experience from a person’s mind can ever be forgotten, can a person ever be able to resolve his own conflict: his fight with his emotions, changes, and his own mind? Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried is a powerful combination of fact and fiction; through description and imagination, O’Brien allows the reader to feel a soldier's hardships in the war and emotional state. His purpose of the book is to tell a war story, which isn’t true, doesn’t have a teaching, cannot be believed, and most of all, which never has an ending & not about the Vietnam War. In his fiction, each man’s physical burden reflects on to his emotional burden caused by different changes in his life throughout the war time. In The Things They Carried, O’Brien wants to convey the emotional experience of soldiers without concern for objective reality.
But, why does this change occur? Why does change that can be clearly seen by others, so important to O’Brien? He uses short sentences and consistent repetition of different terms or usage of same format to drag us into his writing, making us eager for the next event that the following story will tell us- although all the stories in The Things They Carried do not go in order to which the events actually happened, we as readers do not even know if those events actually happened or not; still, we feel the chronological order of changes that occur in every character of The Things They Carried. But can the actual experience of warfare be adequately transmitted through prose? Can words always express what we want to tell about our experience: how a soldier felt during a particular moment in the war? Beyond descriptions of on-going shrieks of machine-gun, the red-burning fire, explosive booming sounds of bombs, what is needed to make the reader grasp the realities of the combat zone of war that a soldier has faced through his own eyes, from the frontier, how he saw people die? Can a change that was caused by a particular experience be described from a particular perspective? Can a horrible truth be expressed in words how it felt as a feeling? Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, a collection of stories about his service in the Vietnam War, raises exactly such questions, and in remembering, O’Brien endeavors to answer them for himself.
The short story “Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong,” is a tale of the horrors of war, and how quickly violent experiences can change one from civilized & gentle to uncivilized & inhumane who enjoys killing others. The story tells about an ideal American young girl’s transformation into a savage, who becomes emotionless while...

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