The Things They Carried Essays

Essay About The Things They Carried

The Things they carried is a book about a platoon of people who are trying to survive the Vietnam war with The Things They Carry in their hearts and there backs. The Novel The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien writes on Cowardice and courage Through the story by the characters Norman Bowker, Jimmy Cross, and Kiowa. In the book The Things They Carry it talks about the Vietnam war and a platoon of people scrounging around for shelter from the war and they talk about their experiences from trenches to Church they have the guts to survive and kill and watch the horrors of war.

In the book Kiowa shows courage in his religion by when they walked by a pagoda Kiowa stood up by telling the platoon of men that “You don’t mess with churches” but regardless the platoon of men went in there anyway to make a base but on Kiowas religion, he didn’t feel happy so he asked to move out of there regarding that it offends him and he is ashamed of what he was doing. Even though the monks enjoyed them being there Kiowa didn’t feel proud of himself for going against his religion. But as all this happened Jimmy Cross killed a man with a grenade describing him as a Asian man who just wanted to live a regular life and got involved with the war for no reason. “His other eye was a star-shaped hole” kept appearing throughout the chapter these words represented fear in Jimmy Cross as he will never forgive himself for killing the man he didn’t mean to intentionally kill. Everyone in the things they carried is a symbol of courage and cowardice like Rat Kiley is a sign of cowardice and courage.

When Rat Kylie was on the edge, instead of killing himself as we all thought, he instead shot himself in the foot to escape the war but as his duties were served he got gifts from his friends (comics) to keep him entertained. The things they carried is also a symbol of being free as represented by the “Sweetheart of the song tra bong”. Mariann Belle was a girl who had a regular girl life with a boyfriend, but until she found out who she truly was as a wildlife person, when she was forced to leave she refused to move and ran away with the greenies (a tribe of jungle people), as she was last seen with a necklace of tongues and left her boyfriend heartbroken. The things they carry is a book full of symbolism of what one was and will always stay the same. As the story slowly progresses it comes to Norman Bowker as a symbol of fear and doubt, as he was driving around the lake he was thinking about the things going on around him and the war.

After he was done talking to a drive-thru lady about what he needs to do with his life, it goes to his Vietnam flashbacks, in one of his flashbacks he was dodging mortar rounds, he hears a groan in the distance. Norman Bowker goes to find where the groan was but when he finds Kiowa, he knows where the groan came from. He finds Kiowas dead body laying the ground, as Kiowas body is getting sunken into the murky water, Norman Bowker tries to save his body but as his body is getting deeper into the mud and he has to abandon Kiowas body to save himself. That memory haunts Norman Bowker throughout the chapter. In the next chapter, Norman Bowker kills himself thinking he was a selfish person with no morals. As the book continues on it goes back to the Vietnam war and on how his platoon is looking for Kiowas body, they looked through the muck for some time until they find Kiowas body deep in the muck with no life, after pulling his body back up onto the dock they start arguing whose fault it was until Norman Bowker said “Nobody’s fault” “Everyone”. The things they carried is a book that goes from past to future then future to past and going into those peoples past makes them feel guilty. The things they carried is also a book on fear. As represented a little girl is dancing out in the field as her parents lay dead in the house.

The girl is trying to find a happy place away from all the bad things that have happened. As this chapter continues on Azar mocks the girl by mimicking her dance but Kiowa makes him stop by putting him over a well and asked if he was done, this shows how messed up times were in the war. As all this happened they go to a story on Curt Lemon and how he accidentally stepped on a detonator and blew his body parts into trees. Curt Lemon is a symbol of foolishness, as he was waltzing around and foolishly stepped on a mine killing himself, all this is brought up when it reminds Jimmy to cross on the man with a star-shaped hole in his eye. This also put fear into the men scaring them into thinking they would step on a mine and land up into a tree with their body parts hanging. The things they carried is a book on how messed up the war was. At the end of it, all 50% of the crew made it out alive with only their hearts to their head and PTSD. The things they carried is a book with memories of the war and how disgusting, horrible, terrible and wretched the war was with Tim O’Brien expressing his emotions with the characters Norman Bowker, Jimmy Cross, and Kiowa. My thoughts on the book are that it’s a good book with a lot of dramatic deaths and questioning of life and how crappy the world is.   

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