The Things They Carried Analysis

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The idea of carrying in O’Brien’s “The things they carried” O’Brien’s book, “The Things They Carried”, which is about the Vietnam War, is a perfect example of description of the importance of carrying. Besides their feelings, the soldiers carry all the necessary things they may need when being far from home; the things dictated by the war and its conditions such as openers, pocket knives, chewing gums, candies, cigarettes, lighters, Military Payment Certificates and several canteens of water weighing from 15 to 20 pounds. The focus on physical weight in the very first lines sets up the metaphor for emotional weight the soldiers carry. One of the passages in the book says that “They (the characters of the book) carried the soldier’s greatest fear, which was the fear of blushing. Men killed, and died, because they…show more content…
Why has O’Brien written the book - because he feels the weight of the necessary things or because he is overwhelmed with those emotions and wants to share them? The most unbearable is to carry the emotional weight caused by killing human beings. Physical pains stop sooner or later, but Tim O’Brien cannot forgive himself the killing. He has written the book to get free of his emotions, to leave the Vietnam War and its terrible consequences behind. As Tim notes, “by telling stories, you objectify your own experience. You separate it from yourself. You pin down certain truths. You make up others.”(p.158). He knows that, unlike physical weight, emotional weight of pain, burden and sense of guilt will never leave. He cannot reach the state of unbearable lightness of being – “Sometimes I forgive myself, other times I don't. In the ordinary hours of life I try not to dwell on it, but now and then, when I'm reading a newspaper or just sitting alone in a room, I'll look up and see the young man coming out of the morning fog.” (p.
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