Tim O Brien's The Things They Carried

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Tim O’Brien has been contributing to the genre of historical fiction with his creative genius for decades, but his most renowned and perhaps his finest book is the universally acclaimed The Things They Carried, published in 1990. Having won a National Magazine Award for the title story, been a finalist for the Pulitzer prize, and been selected as one of the best nine books of the year by the New York Times Book Review, O’Brien’s novel is considered to be the war book with the greatest success and impact (Lopez 1997). The novel consists of several short tales describing numerous accounts of American soldiers fighting in Vietnam combined with the author’s contemplation on writing war stories. From the beginning of the end of the book, O’Brien…show more content…
Both chapters demonstrate that war is no place for sentimental attachment. The theme of the former chapter is located specifically within the anecdotes describing Jimmy Cross’ fondness of Martha. He carried memorabilia, namely photographs and letters, which serves as a reminder of her. Although the letters he received could not be classified as love letters, “Lieutenant Cross was hoping, so he kept them folded in plastic at the bottom of his rucksack” (1). As can be seen, Cross had a tendency to romanticize the relationship between him and Martha. He would often visualize camping trips with her, reminisce to the times when they nearly became more than friends, and daydream about walks on the beach with her. However, Cross soon realized that his fantasies could not be more important than the lives of his soldiers. As a first lieutenant, he was in charge of his squad’s safety. When fellow soldier Ted Lavender died, he assumed the blame. He recognized that his adoration of Martha was excessive, and he vowed to neglect the memories of her by burning the letters. The conclusion of Cross’ tale displayed that, in war, there are countless matters more significant than sentimental attachment. The audience begins to progressively acknowledge this theme as the plot develops. This theme is repeated in “Sweetheart of Song Tra Bong,” albeit using a slightly different example. Mark Fossie, a young medic working in a small detachment in the mountains, near the village of Tra Bong, decided he would persuade his beloved Mary Anne to join him on the battlefield. At first, it was seen as a senseless thing to do, but the other soldiers’ soon began appreciating her presence. Their first impressions of her were that she was friendly, fragile, bubbly, and enthusiastic. Furthermore, she seemed extremely curious about warfare and
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