Themes of the Carried
In “The Things they Carried” Tim O’Brien creates many intriguing scenes based around his three themes. They all link the whole book to become a whole story and not to miss anything happening. Also he makes good wordplay when in intense or meaningful parts of this book to really make everything pop out at you. “The Things they Carried” has three main themes including the emotional and physical burdens, fear of shame being a motivator, and the subjection of truth as storytelling.
The emotional burdens of a soldier are very high. During the war they develop pride and reputation not to be afraid and if they do not to show it. If they are to show it then it can be a weakness for the enemy to exploit or even for a cruel friendly to be rude upon. Also being away from their family makes them long for them and miss their loved ones. After the war it doesn’t get much better either, the men that survive it begin to carry guilt, grief, and confusion. They are always trying to come to terms with all that happened in the war through storytelling but this does not always work.
The physical burdens of all the men at war are tremendous. There is the obvious carrying of the heavy items like machine guns, ammo, grenades, but also having to do backbreaking tasks like having to build a bunker. While at war Henry Dobbins and his squad have to create some barriers in order to protect them from the enemy’s at war, both domestic and foreign types. The fear of being ashamed is a great motivator to everyone at war in this book. The men were drafted for war but most did not want to fight. Some men would run away but others didn’t want to be a coward and feel ashamed for their family so they would stay and head off to war. This leads to misguided decisions in the war and makes it very dangerous to you and everyone around you. Yet having this can make them wonder if the people near them like them or not. This make Curt Lemon pull his tooth...
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