The Thing They Carried Literary Analysis Essay

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Derek Gorthy Mrs. Taylor A.P. Lang. & Comp. 22 February 2013 War, The Truth is Not Always as It Seems Those who are not in war, cannot understand war; and many times, those in war do not completely understand war. The physical and emotional toll of war, of blood, of killing, of fallen soldiers, are too difficult to put into words. Tim O’Brien’s, The Thing They Carried, effectively exemplifies these tolls and the devastating consequences of them. The collection of short stories show that we must appear composed in war, in times of emotional distress, and through these unexpressed emotions, a story emerges. The lines between “happening-truth” and “story-truth” become blurred as the soldier incorporates both the seen and the unseen parts of experience. The emotion a soldier experiences cannot be understood by anyone except those in war. This emotion is unique to each individual, as we all have different outlooks on life, death and war. Lieutenant Jimmy Cross’s experience of the death of Lavender undoubtedly illustrates the effect war eventually makes on a soldier. Due to his mistake, Cross “felt shame. He hated himself. He had loved Martha more than his men, and as a consequence Lavender was now dead, and this was something he would have to carry like a stone in his stomach for the rest of the…show more content…
It portrays deaths as a simple event, no names, no faces, no hometowns and no life stories. Real history lies in the “story-truth”, the truth of friendships and hatreds, of girlfriends and mothers, of companions and fallen comrades. The truth in any story, but especially in a war story, is the emotion. In the Vietnam War, ordinary citizens did not fight the Viet Cong, they do not understand the fighting or the death; the truth of the Vietnam War incases itself in the story of every soldier. Only after this truth has been heard can one understand that the “story-truth” is truer than the
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