The Things They Carried By Tim Obrien English Literature Essay

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You must read and analyze "The Things They Carried" by Tim O'Brien by Friday, March 11. Your first part of the analysis is to write THREE insightful discussion questions that you will raise in class on the 11th. For each discussion question, write your response to the question. Note that these questions should come from you and not the Internet, as should your responses. If you choose to type your responses, keep to the format that has been given. This will be collected and graded.

Discussion Question #1: Being his own narrator of his story, how does Tim affects the characters in "The Things They Carried" like Jimmy?

Your Response: In this war epic story, the narrator, who is Tim, narrates his own story about life and experiences in Vietnam during the war, wherein his friends and the rest of his platoon played as characters. He used the third-point of view. Basically, all of his valuable memoirs in the war where accounted. Though, there are also some parts that Tim almost said that these stories are made up, but are true in ways that describes the war in Vietnam. To which, the other characters in the story can relate too. They shared mixed emotions as well as realizations allying in a war, which they all regret at the end.

Discussion Question #2: How can you relate on the themes of the story: bravery, effects of war and truth?

Your Response: Society sees a soldier to be a fearless warrior. In the story selection, Tim and his platoon showed bravery, reactions to the effects of war and tells the truth in a war story. According to Tim, if a war makes us feel good, then it cannot bear any moral or meaning. I agree. There is no goodness in a war. Since, it is made of shocking and terrible stories. A true war is evil. Also, in the story bravery was compared to cowardice in most of the scenes. According to him, this is a true war story, because it depicts no moral, but just ugliness and cruelty. Though, he thinks that any war does not have a purpose, to which he considered the thought of running away to Canada, just like the other candidates for being a soldier, who makes this a hide away point of land. These young soldiers showed extreme grief, anger and fight for injustice. Together with Tim, they cooperate and help each other to defeat the enemy, so that the war would stop. As the dead victims were carried by the American soldiers, the series of past war scenarios continue to haunt them, that up to now even their children hear stories of war.

Discussion Question #3: Men are defined by the things they carry. Is this the same when men deal with death?

Your Response: Since, they are very young, it is definitely hard for them to take part in a war as its soldiers. For me, they showed faked bravery. I think this is the same when men deal with death. In the story, Tim was shot twice. He survived, because he faced death how he is supposed to do. Certainly, they had their own ways of combating depression and allying courage. To which, I find them committing their duty. Examples of these were during the time he watched a man torn into pieces from a mine bombing. This is something Tim cannot forget. His co-soldiers at that time experience a force masculinity, wherein they maintained courage and confidence, not being in fear, sadness or depression in the war. To help them in this pursuit, they carry heavy rations and supplies, together with pictures of their girlfriends. They do this because they want to be brave just like other soldiers of a war. Though, these soldiers have expressed heavy emotions too during the war and after going home. Strange things happen to soldiers in Vietnam. Being there, Tim and others showed being paranoid, wherein they lost a sense of morality and integrity. Tim shared his friend's, Norman Bowker, story to try to do his life justice from committing suicide. No one then understood what they went through, only themselves.

Your second part of the analysis is to pull THREE quotes from the text and explain the importance to the story. Consider plot structure, characterization, symbolism, irony, and any other literary elements when choosing and analyzing your quotes. Remember to give more analysis than summary. Again, the quotes and analysis should come from you, not the Internet. This will be collected and graded. If you choose to type it, keep to the format. For each quote, include an in-text citation in MLA format.

Quote #1: "Lieutenant Cross found this Romantic (on the good luck charm Martha sent him.) But he wondered what her true feelings were, and what she meant by separate-but-together."

Significance: Aside from acts of bravery and courage, a part of the soldiers fond memories during the war are love stories, wherein Lt. Jimmy Cross and Martha's affair was prominent. On the other hand, there was a detailed characterization of the life of Tim as a soldier. Cross was the main character in the plot, who was also the platoon leader. His inspiration was Martha, whom he expressed a sincere devotion through sending letters, photographs. Since she was outside Vietnam, the good luck charm she sent to Cross, a pebble, is a way to connect their relationship. Though he was distracted and wistful of Martha, he was successful in carrying his duty to protect the lives of his soldiers. The story uses a plot structure of assigning any character a "minor" status, and Martha is one of the civilians, who showed that the story is also about love aside from the war itself. Wherein, the story shows aims to depict the radical connection of two disparate countries: America and Vietnam. The author emphasizes more on the 'moral terrain' of Vietnam as part of history. He also said that this place is war.

Quote #2: "The morning was hot and very still. Not good, Kiowa said. He looked at the tunnel opening, then out across a dry paddy toward the Village of Than Khe. Nothing moved. No clouds or birds or people. As they waited, the men smoked and drank Kool-Aid, not talking much, feeling Sympathy for Lee Strunk but also feeling the luck of draw. You win some, you lose some. Said Mitchell Sanders, and sometimes you settle for a rain check. It was a tired line and no one laughed."

Significance: In this quote, it can be seen that the soldiers though that there is magic in Vietnam, to which nothing is a laughing matter. There are a lot of superstitions there. To which, they believe these somewhat. Over their grief and depression, a quiet bravery was shown in this scene. Vietnam, because of being haven for chaos in the war, these soldiers had difficulty to know what a true war is. They ask questions like, Am I to blame for the death of this man? To which, they do not know how to feel. The story's symbolism showed the things soldiers carry in a war, which are their thoughts and emotions. These served as a security blanket and reflective of their personality. The readers had indirect interaction with the soldiers' lives then.

Quote #3: "Among the men there would be grumbling, of course, and maybe worse, because their days would seem longer and their loads heavier, but Lieutenant Jimmy Cross reminded himself that his obligation was not be loved, but to lead."

Significance: The quote showed sense bravery from the platoon leader, Cross. Tim was able to bring the dead back to life through narrating about a war and soldiers stories. He does this with a strength that makes a reader feel that they are also there. In a similar form, the soldiers were able to combat the war through sharing their own stories with each other, which shows their brotherly support like how Cross showed his concern for them by considering to lead and not to love in this quote. The word "things" was greatly used along the paragraphs, wherein it represents the loads carried, as well as emotions experienced during that time. Wherein burdens were shame play as motivation, loneliness is a motif and the morality issues show an irony of war. Wherein, there is a question of "When is war true?" Lastly, the story is a perfect display of true burdens in the life of a soldier. Their thinking, feelings and beliefs were accounted.

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