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Things They Carried How Tim O(TM)Brien Shows the Negative Side of Vietnam

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Introduction

Justin Reeder Ms. Kavanagh Research Paper March 12, 2008 How Tim O'Brien Shows the Negative Side of Vietnam In Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried, O'Brien talks about all the parts of the Vietnam War. It shows all the horrors and negative sides of the war and what it can do to men. Many men lose their lives as well as their best friends and comrades. War also changes the soldiers into something else that's not themselves, something evil. The Things They Carried shows the negative side of war through the imagery of the shitfield, the mental affects of the war, the hatred that can be shown by each person, the way war changes people, and the loss of companions. In the shitfield one sees everything that is bad about the war. It's dirty and mucky and it's just depressing all around. While in the field the soldiers are bombarded my artillery fire so they have to sink into the muck to hide themselves. One of the soldiers, Kiowa, gets hit with one of the shells. Norman Bowker tries to pull him out of the muck but he cannot. All the men try to pull him out but they cannot. They lose a friend in Kiowa, who is lost and buried in the field, and it scars all the men for life especially when they try to pull him out of the muck. ...read more.

Middle

O'Brien hates Jorgenson for it. "I wanted to hurt Bobby Jorgenson the way he'd hurt me" (O'Brien 200). Months later O'Brien and Jorgenson talk. O'Brien realizes that Jorgenson is really sorry and he can't bring himself to say how he feels about it and just says its ok. "I hated him for making me stop hating him" (O'Brien 200). This isn't like O'Brien to be hateful. He has become something he's not. The war changes the men into bad things, things that aren't themselves. O'Brien talk about how the war changes himself and his personality at times. "I'd come to this war a quiet, thoughtful sort of person.... I'd turned mean inside. Even a little cruel at times.... It's a hard thing to admit, even to myself, but I was capable of evil" (O'Brien 200). O'Brien also talks about how one comes over innocent and but one leaves with a different identity. "You come over clean and you get dirty and then afterwards it's never the same" (O'Brien 114). Other authors talk about how O'Brien shows the physical and mental devastation caused by the war. "Nowhere in The Things They Carried does O'Brien explain more clearly the psychic devastation wrought by wartime trauma" (Neilson 193). One sees the effect of the trauma even if the characters previous personalities aren't known. The killing also has a big affect on O'Brien. ...read more.

Conclusion

The last death happens because of carelessness. Ted Lavender was always doped up and this in the end leads to his death. While going to the bathroom in the woods Lieutenant Cross is daydreaming and not keeping watch for enemy soldiers. While coming back from his bathroom break Lavender is shot in the head and killed on the spot. Cross never forgives himself for his death because he was daydreaming about girls and one of his men was killed. "Several incidents in The Things They Carried reveal moments when the male soldiers cannot communicate with one another" (Vernon 171). Death is only a small part of the whole picture. Tim O'Brien shows many of the negative sides of the war to the reader in ways that the reader can see how bad war is. He uses the examples of his friends dying, the whole ordeal in the shitfield, how war changes the men including the mental effects, and by showing how hateful one can become because of the stressful situations and the things one sees. O'Brien feels that he has to show all the negative sides of the war because he never wanted to go to war in the first place. Men go to war to fight battle that could be worked out peacefully and they fight and die for no reason. He feels that war is a bad thing and wants to show the reader that it's a terrible thing and he does this very well. Even today war is a problem. Many young men are dying for no reason and it needs to stop. ...read more.

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