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The Things They Carried, Research Paper Example

Pages: 2

Words: 509

Research Paper

Introduction

This paper examines the paper ‘The things they carried’ by Tim O’Brien.  The story was centered on the horrors of the Vietnam War and the soldiers that fought in this horrific killing field. Soldiers often carried varied items as good luck talisman and other artifacts that had specific sentimental value.  “ The things they carried were largely determined by necessity, amongst these necessities were P38 Can openers, pocket knives and heat tabs ..” (O’Brien, 2009)

Observations

First Lt. Jimmy Cross – Lt Cross kept love letters from his girlfriend Martha. He kept these letters and read them in his foxhole in battle recess periods. He imagined that Martha loved him as much as he loved her but they were really only letters between friends.  He indulged in fantasy romance trips; equally he was obsessive about the sexual virtues of Martha. The Lieutenant also carried things of necessity like Pocket knives, can openers, cigarettes, salt tablets etc.  The Lieutenant also“carriedhis good luck pebble”.. (O’Brien, 2009).  He also had an entrenching tool which he used to dig foxholes with.  He also carried two photographs of Martha which he later burned.  The Lieutenant also carried his maps of the battle area which he noticed depicted the land as green and inviting. “ They all carried steel helmets that weighed over five pounds” (O’Brien, 2009)

Ted Lavender – Ted had been shot in the head earlier in the campaign and as a result carried around tranquilisers. In addition Ted carried around seven ounces of premium dope.  He was also heavily ladened with all his military attire including thirty five rounds of ammunition, further twenty pounds of ammunition, flak jacket, helmet, rations, water bottles and toilet paper. This it was felt added lots of dead weight and hampered his mobility leading to him eventually being shot and killed. “ Ted Lavender who was scared carried tranquilizers” (O’Brien, 2009) He also carried the starlight scope that weighed over sixty three pounds.  Ted obviously suffered from severe headaches as a result of his previous head injury; this made him somewhat obsessive about his medications to the point of needing drugs and dope to help get him through. “ Ted Riley carried 34 rounds when he was shot and killed” (O’Brien, 2009)

The Medic Rat Kiley was burdened with having to carry around all things medical and had a satchel filled with items like Morphine, surgical tape, bandages and field dressings, malaria tablets and lastly comics.  This injecting a sense of irony in the sense of the serious and gravity of the important medical supplies offset by the escapist humour in the comics.  The Medic needed to have sight of some sense of humour and relief given the slaughter, killing and wounded around him. Rat Kiley also “carried comic books” (O’Brien, 2009). Other soldiers like that of “ Dave Jenson who practiced field hygiene carried a tooth brush and dental floss” (O’Brien, 2009).  Mitchell Sanders “ carried the PRC-25 radio” (O’Brien, 2009).  It “was Henry Dobbins who carried the M-60” (O’Brien, 2009)

Works Cited

O’Brien, T. (2009). The things they carried. New York: Harcourt Publishing.

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