The Things They Carried

by Tim O'Brien

The trick isn't surviving, the trick is living with yourself.

War Is Hell

Tim O'Brien and his fellow brothers in the platoon face a difficult challenge of dealing with the harsh environment while fighting a war. They start to face the reality of war and how causes chaos in the world, physically and mentally. People die every day in Vietnam during the war. War messes with peoples mind during the book. Rat Kiley kept hearing voices that talked to him during the night and couldn't take it anymore. He shot himself in the foot to transfer to a more safe environment.

Coping With Loss

Many of Tim O'Brien loses a lot of friends during the war, such as Kiowa, Norman Bowker, and Ted Lavender. O'Brien also loses a loved one, Linda, at the young age of nine. Coping with losses plays a huge impact on main characters in the story. In the beginning of the novel, Curt Lemon dies from a roadside bomb. Jimmy Cross is impacted by this in a large way. He changes his personality because of what had happened to Lemon. He turns from a care-free leader to a strict and stern person.

Fear of Shame

In the beginning of the novel, Tim O'Brien is faced with a big problem: go to war, or not to go to war. he travels to the border of Canada to try and cross the border to escape the war. He meets a man named Elroy Berdhal. Elroy takes O'Brien out fishing one day and tells him he can go to Canada and betray his country. O'Brien's fear of shame of betraying his country is why he ends up going to war. In theory, it is the right thing to do, but he ends up not liking his decision in the end.

War Changes People

War can change any innocent person into a ruthless, cold-blooded killer. One example of this is during the story, Mark Fossey brings over a girl named Martha Anne. She is a sweet and innocent girl who had never been introduced to war. She got a huge burst of reality when she went wondering off, curiously, to the Green Beret tent. She began going on small missions with them and soon became a "brother" of the Green Beret. She was turned into a tribal acting, quick-to-kill, murderer.

Works Consulted

"American Soldier in Scotland 1943 WW2." Photograph. Flickrcc. November 8, 2012.

"Untitled." Photograph. Flickrcc. November 8, 2012.

"My Shame." Photograph. Flickrcc. November 8, 2012.