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Commentary on "The Things They Carried" Tim OBrien

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Sharon Huynh April 4th, 2012 English 10 F Block The Things They Carried ? Tim O?Brien In the short story, the author Tim O?Brien weaves descriptions of the soldiers? physical and emotional baggage throughout the story to show the responsibilities these soldiers had. The title of this chapter emphasizes the physical and emotional responsibilities that weighed down on these men, both physically and mentally. It suggests that responsibility can be almost parasitic; existing within a person and is not easily removed. With the detailed lists of supplies that the men carried, the author establishes the soldiers? physical burden. Despite of being out in the battlefield, they all have the responsibility of carrying their personal and group?s belongings. ...read more.


In addition, repetition of the phrase ?they carried? conveys the concept of responsibly because it enforces these physical burdens that the men endured. The weight of their supplies causes the men physical pain from which they cannot be comforted. Not only are these men weighed down with an abundant supplies, they are also weighed down by emotional responsibilities. This is demonstrated by the responsibility that Lieutenant Cross feels for Lavender?s death. Throughout the story, Cross finds himself thinking of Martha, a girl back home whom he loves, relentlessly when he should be worrying about the war. Even when his fellow brothers are falling under fire, he continues to fantasize, distracting him from the situation at hand. ...read more.


He blames himself for Lavender death; he recognizes that it was his responsibility to shelter Lavender from the bullets of the enemy. This burden will plague him forever. The concept of responsibility is made real to the reader through the descriptions of the things the men carried. The imagery and symbolism of this story makes the piece more relatable to the readers. In today?s world, soldiers are seen as ?different? people. As a result of O?Brien descriptions, the soldiers are viewed as being relatable to the everyday civilian. With the physical and the emotional burdens that they carried, it gives the character a background. Like us, they all have families, hobbies and lives outside of the battlefield. Despite their tough outer shell, these soldiers are just like everyone else. ...read more.

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