The Meaning of the Things They Carried
Tim O’Brien is a veteran of the Vietnam War and he fought with the United States in that controversial war. Tim O’Brien was drafted into the Vietnam War in 1968. He served as an infantryman, and obtained the rank of sergeant and won a Purple Heart after being wounded by shrapnel. He was discharged from the Vietnam War in 1970. I believe that O’Brien’s own past experiences he encountered in the Vietnam War gave him inspiration to write “The Things They Carried.” In the story the differences and similarities can be seen between the characters by the things they hold close to them.
O’Brien’s expression towards each character is very unique because not one of them is exactly the same. They all differ in age and personality, and have different views on the war. They hold the weight of their country on their backs, but they also have different emotions weighing on their hearts and minds. The story takes place in Vietnam, where First Lieutenant Jimmy Cross and his platoon are in the fields. His platoon includes Mitchell Sanders, Rat Kiley, Henry Dobbins, Kiowa, Norman Bowker, Ted Lavender, Dave Jensen, Lee Strunk, and a few other soldiers that O’Brien does not name in the story.
The platoon would follow Lieutenant Jimmy Cross across the hills, valleys, rivers, and anything else imaginable. Each soldier carried at least twenty pounds of supplies, weapons, rations, and personal necessities on their backs. They did not know where they were going or where they would stop. The objects that they carried were largely determined by necessity. “Some of the necessities were P-38 can openers, pocket knives, heat tabs, wristwatches, dog tags, mosquito repellent, chewing gum, candy, cigarettes, salt tablets, packets of Kool-Aid, lighters, matches, C rations and two or three canteens of water. By necessity, and because it was standard operating procedure they all carried steel helmets that weighed five pounds. On their feet they carried...
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