Conflicts In Tim O Brien's The Things They Carried

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The Things They Carried Plot: 1. Exposition- The exposition is in the beginning of the story. It is when Tim O’Brien explains who the soldiers are, and what they carry. He explains what most soldiers carry physically, like guns, water, grenades, and other war necessities. He also explains the emotional things the soldiers carry. All of the soldiers carry something from home. Whether it is a memory or physical object. Tim gives us the background information needed to know about the soldiers in the stories. There is background information that Tim does not necessarily say, but the reader can conclude it from the text. Such as the burden and grief the soldiers carry in the war. 2. Conflict- There is many different conflicts in this book. One…show more content…
One of the themes is the physical and emotional burden that people carry. All of the soldiers in the stories carry something physically and emotionally. They all carry the heavy backpack, but they also carry huge emotional loads. “…and for all the ambiguities of Vietnam, all the mysteries and unknowns, there was at least the single abiding certainty that they would never be at a loss for things to carry” (O’Brien 16). An example of this is Henry Dobbins. He carries his girlfriend’s pantyhose, and with those he also carries the longing to be with his girlfriend. Jimmy Cross carries the pictures of Martha, and with that, he carries the feeling of hurt that Martha does not love him like he loves her. The soldiers also carried their reputations. They do not ever want to show fear. Even after the war, the men still carry the grief of the war. Tim O’Brien carries the image of the young man that he killed, and it haunts him every day. Jimmy Cross tells Tim that he still has no forgiven himself about Ted Lavenders death. “At one point, I remember, we paused over a picture of Ted Lavender, and after a while Jimmy rubbed his eyes and said he’d never forgiven himself for Lavender’s death. It was something that would never go away, he said quietly, and I nodded and told him I felt the same about certain things” (Obrien 27). Another theme is fear of shame as motivation. Tim O’Brien experiences this himself when he is on the boat with Elroy. He decides to go to war because he is ashamed of running from it. “It had nothing to do with mortality. Embarrassment, that's all it was” (O’Brien 59). That same feeling of embarrassment is what made half of the soldiers go to Vietnam. Jimmy Cross went to war only because his friends did, and that led him to danger. He had to lead a group of soldiers when he did not feel qualified to. Tim uses the characters to show the fear of shame as motivation for going to

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