The Things They Carried By Tim O Brien: Chapter Analysis

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A war novel is a novel, which deals with soldiers going through, recovering from, or preparing for war. The Things They Carried is a collection of short war stories written by Tim O’Brien. Each chapter has its own distinct role in adding to the meaning of the book. However, as each chapter could put the readers in a state of confusion and make them wonder why that chapter is there in the first place, it is important to look at two contrasting themes of the novel; life versus death. As mentioned earlier, The Things They Carried is a war novel. It revolves around the life’s of the soldiers. Multiple deaths occur throughout the novel; however, does that mean the novel is about death only? Since the novel is divided into short stories regardless of chronological order, each death hits the characters and the readers in a different sense. A character could die in one chapter but be alive in the next one. Perhaps this represents the choices one makes in life; a bad choice is like the death of a soldier and a good choice could be a new beginning for the same soldier in the next chapters. In the chapter ‘The Man I Killed’, O’Brien’s inner thoughts are revealed after he killed a man. Even though the man died, O’Brien sees the…show more content…
Two consecutive chapters could portray events that have weeks between them but the third chapter could present an event in between. This loop could represent life after death, like a void the soldiers enter after they die. This void consists of all the memories and life lessons they went through, experiencing it over again, perhaps even learning new things. Also, in the chapter ‘The Man I Killed’, as O’Brien visualizes the life of the man he killed, there is no clear order in what is happening first in the man’s life. This links back to arrangement of the novel. Nobody is certain what happens after death; however, a sense of rebirth is created throughout the

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