The Things They Carried

by Tim O'Brien

Coping with Guilt

In the book Tim O'Brien tells a story about the man he killed and what he looked liked. "His jaw was in his throat, his upper lip and teeth were gone, his one eye was shut, his other eye was a star-shaped hole."(p118). This image of the man stuck with Tim for a while and had to deal with it. Later in the book Tim talks about the man and puts the story in a whole different perspective. "I did not kill him. But i was present, you see, and my presence was guilt enough... I remember feeling the burden of responsibility and grief. I blamed myself...But listen. Even that story is made up. I want you to feel what i felt."(p171). Tim tells about this because the time he spent in the war he felt guilty and he wanted the reader to feel just as he did.
"Vietnam War" Wikimedia commons.12/20/2011.Web.11/8/12

Fear of shame

In the book Tim is scared to go to the war in doing so he decides to go to canada. He meets up with a guy named Elroy Berdhal. After Tim graduated from college he got drafted to the Vietnam War, which he hated. He did not want to go so he decided to go to Canada. When he reached the Rainy River. He stayed with Elroy for a while and when it was time he thought about going to Canada, he thought about leaving his whole family behind, leaving his home, his life. He thought about being called a coward and people not liking him because of this. Even though he decided to go back and go to the war, Tim called himself a coward.
"Uncle Sam" Wikimedia Commons.12/23/2008.Web.11/8/2012

Coping with loss

Tim O'Brien was best friends with Kiowa they always talked to each other, helped each other, they were brothers in arms. When Kiowa died of the mortar fire Norman Bowker tried to save him by trying to pull him out of the muck but all was lost. Tim doesnt talk much about how he felt but later on in the book when Tim goes back to the field with his daughter kathleen he takes a swim. He takes Kiowas machosins and puts them in the water and says"Well I finally managed".(178). This shows that even these many years later he finally accepted Kiowas death and that it was final he said good bye.

Storytelling: truth vs. fiction

In the book Tim O'Brien talks about how it is hard to tell a true war story and how that sometimes its easier to tell a fake one. In the part of the book Tim tells us about the man he kills and what the man looked liked. Later on he tells how the whole story was made up and how that sometimes story turth is truer than happening truth. The reason why he says this is because if he would have just said that he felt guilty of the war no body would have payed any attention. Becuase he made up this story it made the reader feel what he felt.