Free Things They Carried Essays: Forms Of Coping Analysis

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The Things They Carried: Forms of Coping The variety of human experiences evokes unique reactions for each individual in a dramatic change of events. In Tim O’Brien’s postmodern novel, The Things They Carried, the war creates major changes in the lives of various individuals involved. These reactions are triggered by the war and differ in each character. Displayed in different forms of coping mechanisms, each reaction is unique in the sense that each presents a different point of view of the war. Through an analysis of four different characters, the reader achieves a better understanding of both the Vietnamese and American perspectives of how the war distorts an individual’s ability to cope. Norman Bowker is a former comrade of O’Brien in the Alpha Company during the Vietnam War, and he possesses different ways of coping. One includes his continuous loops around the lake because of Bowker’s imagined father’s only concern about the medals Bowker receives during the war. O’Brien includes a section on Bowker’s thoughts of what potentially could have happened if he told his father that he had “almost won the Silver Star” (141). Instead of discussing and attempting to resolve the…show more content…
This girl is seen dancing outside the smoked ruins of her house. “The girl danced mostly on her toes” (135). Shockingly, the Alpha Company later found her family burned to death. The girl dances with her hands over her ears, as if she blocking out the harsh outside world-- the harsh reality of the death of her family. She even “sometimes [smiled] to herself” (135). This dancing girl’s incomprehensive smile transcends past the normal reality most face. In this situation, most individuals would weep, scream, or go into shock, but this dancing girl had a dreamy look as she made graceful movements with her hips. Peculiar behaviors like these appear to be a trend, for a Vietnamese monk possesses an odd way of coping as

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