The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien – Literary Analysis Paper

In The Things, They Carried by Tim O’Brien I took a keen interest in the character named after the author. I was mostly fascinated by his detailed description of his personal experience while serving as a soldier in the Vietnam War. From the onset, it is clear that he is scared to go to war but still signs up to avoid the shame that would dog him for the rest of his life.  It is this unique point of view that shapes the story and all the events that he relates to the reader. The war was a traumatizing experience for him primarily due to the unspeakable horrors that he was exposed to on a daily basis.  I was moved by this particular character due to his kind heart, even when he is thrust into war. Here, he struggles with the extreme confusion and feeling of disbelief that engulfs him. Furthermore, he is instrumental in developing the theme of fear of shame as an individual’s motivation. It is this fear that ensures that O’Brien enlists to fight for his country. He was about to flee to Canada but decides to remain and face the draft (O’Brien 12). The thought of being shamed by his peers and family members ultimately keeps him in the country and motivates him to fight. The setting of the story is in Quang Ngai Province in the jungles of Vietnam. It is here that he fights the fiercest battles and gets to face his fears.

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