Settings and Circumstances in The Things They Carried
Stories from the Vietnam War are not only told, but experienced by Tim O'Brien in the novel, The Things They Carried. Years after the Vietnam War, O'Brien writes a series of in-depth stories in regards to the platoon and himself as they are forced to endure numerous traumatizing events and emotional burdens during their service in the war. When one is put through such harsh events and emotional trauma, it changes the manner in which they behave and act after the war has ended. It is evident that the settings and circumstances in The Things They Carried significantly influences the actions and behaviors of the soldiers including fear, loneliness as well as mental and physical sufferings.
There are different types of fears and going through war brings out the most of them. Jensen experiences an immense amount of anxiety and fear. In war, when you attack the enemy, you expect to get hit back or at least expect some sort of retaliation. This retaliation carried onto Jensen when he fractures Strunk's nose. Although Strunk never mentions that he plans on taking revenge, Jensen remains fearful. He is so afraid of what Stunk might do that "…late that same night he borrowed a pistol, gripped it by the barrel and used it like a hammer to break his own nose" (O'Brien, 85). Being put in the situation of expecting something to occur causes Jensen to break his own nose, this is all driven by fear. Almost everyone fears their own death, being placed in war would drive one insane. Ted Lavender, the soldier who carried tranquilizers was terrified of dying. As Tim states what some of the soldiers are carrying, he mentions Ted Lavender, "carried more than 20 pounds of ammunition, plus the flak jacket, helmet and rations and water and toilet paper and tranquilizers and all the rest, plus the unweighed fear” (O'Brien, 30). It is evident that Ted Lavender was not fit for war mentally without the drugs and tranquillizers....
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