Essay: The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien

By | May 27, 2011

Sample Essay

Tim O’Brien in his book, ‘The Things They Carried’, shows the struggle between war and love, between individuality and collectivity, and between courage and cowardice through the depiction of the soldiers in the Platoon at Vietnam and also shows how the soldiers have to sacrifice love, individuality and emotions to perform their duty in the battlefield. The story revolves around the interplay of illusions and reality in the lives of the soldiers. The story is about the lives of the soldiers who have left their family and loved ones behind to perform their duty.

It is about a group of soldiers who are marching through Vietnam carrying various items which have been the object of concern for the author. It is not only the material things which they might need during the war which they are carrying but it is also the memories and fears that the soldiers are carrying. The story moves from the narration of the events to the description of the items. Many contrasts are found while analyzing the text and exploring the themes of the story. The characters of the tale are torn between the contrasts that their life is facing. The characters of the book are found in the dilemma of choosing while sacrificing the other thing. Love is sacrificed for duty, reality for illusions and faith held by the soldiers.

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