Things They Carried By Tim O Brien: Character Analysis

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Very often, the way something seems to be is not the way it actually is. By scratching the surface, we can find examples of this condition in literature, history, and everyday life. I pass an anonymous quote the other day that reminded of this truism. It read, “Be kind, for everyone is fighting their one private battle.” The novel by Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried exemplifies this type of misleading impression. The main character is named Tim O’Brien, just like the author, so the reader isn’t sure if the narrator is speaking the truth or is weaving a fictional tale. Regardless, both Tim O’Brien the author and Tim the main character, went off to the Vietnam war. On the surface, the protagonist, Tim, appears to be patriotic. He lives in a small town in Minnesota where the teenaged boys leave for war when they are 18 years old. They are heralded and celebrated by the community and told that they are heroes for fighting for their country.…show more content…
The work is gruesome, bloody, and redolent with the stench of death. His peers and family think he is ready to go off to camp and yet he feels that he is somewhat deceptive to his own feelings but he still goes to war and so what he seems to be isn't really who he seems to be. But the truth is that Tim is anguished inside. He would rather do anything, including the wretched pig factory job, than have to go off and potentially kill people for his country. He agonizes privately, all the while conveying the impression that he is brave and ready to fight. Silently he contemplates going awol and escaping to Canada. His inner conflict becomes so extreme that he finally gets in his truck and begins driving north to Canada, never telling a

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