Tim O'Brien

Topics: Vietnam War, South Vietnam, Short story Pages: 4 (1263 words) Published: June 4, 2013
Mary Kate Flork
Mr. Byatt
Honors English 11
29 April 2013
Tim O’Brien

“The Things They Carried” was written by Tim O’Brien. Tim was born on October 1st, 1946 in Austin, Minnesota. He earned a degree in political science at Macalester College in 1968 then was drafted in to the military. From 1968 to 1970 he served as a foot soldier in the Vietnam War. O’Brien was awarded a purple heart; following discharge he attended Harvard University although he left in 1976 without completing the Ph. D program. Tim stabilized his publishing career and started focusing on writing. Tim O’Brien wrote “If I Die in Combat Zone, Box Me up and Ship Me Home” which was a popular critical success. He earned a foothold in American Literature and received the 1979 National Book Award in Fiction for “Going after Cacciato”. O’Brien has eight works published and six of them were novels. In O’Brien’s works he is noted for branching out in themes like: family conflicts, betrayal, loss of faith, and social principles. Tim was labeled as a meta-fictional writer using illusion and fantasy to express troubling nature of reality (“Tim O’Brien”).

A platoon of seventeen soldiers from America travel in booby-trap swamps and through the hills of Vietnam. “They been ordered to set ambushes, execute night patrols, and search out and destroy the massive tunnel complexes south of Chu Lai constructed by Viet Cong guerrillas” (McCarthy). On their voyage the men carry something with them; the things they carry have a meaning to each soldier which distinguishes them. The men are not completely prepared to deal with the stresses of war emotionally. The story circles around Lieutenant Jimmy Cross and the burden he feels for the death of Lavender, one of his soldiers. “The Things They Carried” reflects on each soldier and their way of trying to escape from the war. American writer Tim O’Brien had many outstanding works including “The Things They Carried”. This work illustrates O’Brien’s use of style,...
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