The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
Civil War General Sherman when stated, “War is hell.” He was right. In the short story “The important things They Brought,” Tim O’brien shows us the hell that our soldiers suffered. The storyteller reveals us a fascinating, and up-close story about our soldiers in the Vietnam War. While the title associates with the story about things brought, however the soldiers bring more than just the physical burdens-in lots of cases, they are weighed down by emotional luggage. The emotional luggage that lies heavy in their hearts surpasses the physical weight. In addition to the items that they should bring, they also bring personal mementos.
To demonstrate how much the soldiers are carrying the storyteller tells us “things carried were mostly figured out by need.” A few of the needs included, “P-38 can opener, penknife … sweet, cigarettes … C rations and two or 3 canteen of water. Together, these items weighed between fifteen and twenty pounds …” The storyteller goes on to give us a lot more information about the important things the soldiers carried; “… brought the standard M-16 gas-operated attack rifle. The weapon weighed 7. 5 pounds unloaded, 8. 2 pounds with its full twenty-round magazine … grenade launcher, 5. pounds unloaded …” By informing us exactly what the males carried and just how much it weighed, it offers us an insight on the physical concerns that the males needed to bring. The storyteller tells us that the intangible products that these guys carried proven heavier than any knapsack and gun. The primary character in the story is Lieutenant Cross, squad leader. He loves a girl in the United States. She is constantly on his mind and since he permits his thoughts to take him away and be with her. Due to the fact that of this, he blames himself for the death of another platoon member even though there was absolutely nothing he might have done to protect him. Lieutenant Cross felt the pain. He blamed himself.” “He envisioned Martha’s smooth young face, thinking he enjoyed her more than anything, more than his men, and now Ted Lavender was dead because he like her a lot and might not stop thinking of her.” I think here he is being a little unreasonable. His love for her didn’t kill Lavender. He didn’t feel just the burden of being responsible for Lavender’s death, “it was the problem of living.” They all carried terrific psychological weight. “They carried all the psychological baggage of the guys who might pass away.
Sorrow, fear, love, longing-these were the intangibles, however the intangibles had their own mass and particular gravity, they had tangible weight.” With all the physical and emotional things they brought, they also brought things that were close to their hearts. They carried keepsakes and other little weapons. “Mitchell Sanders carried brass knuckles. Kiowa brought his grandpas feathered hatchet … Kiowa always brought his New Testament … Lee Strunk brought his slingshot; ammo, he claimed, would never be a problem.” We’re informed that Lieutenant Cross brought letters from Martha in his rucksack, and images of her in his wallet and a pebble. … Lieutenant Cross received a good-luck beauty from Martha. It was a simple pebble, an ounce at many.” These things, although that was something else they carried, I feel like that, these items are things that made them seem like there was a world outside the war. They carried a silent awe of the power of the weapons, which kept them alive by killing the opponent. They brought infection, the weak or wounded, the thumbs of slain Viet Cong, guilt, and the soil of Vietnam itself. Maybe the only certainty of a rather ambiguous war was that there would never be a shortage of things to bring.