The Things They Carried Essay

1812 WordsMay 5, 20138 Pages
English MO1B Monday & Wednesday February 25, 2013 “The Things They Carried” “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien explores the lives of soldiers during the Vietnam War, but it is about more than war. While the men all carry back-breaking physical loads, they must also carry emotional loads composed of grief, terror, love, and longing. Each man’s physical burden emphasizes an even heavier emotional burden. Ultimately, they latch onto objects which offer normalcy and comfort to ground them as they experience the oppressive torment of war. Through necessity, each of the soldiers must carry utilities that may prove useful as they trek through the jungle. These utilities are particularly heavy and cumbersome, yet some soldiers are willing to add extra weight to their loads in order to carry (seemingly insignificant) objects that have sentimental value to them. The heaviest burden carried in war it seems is the human mind. While they also carried physical loads which was called humping, they carried malaria tablets, love letters, tranquilizers, 28 pound mine detectors, dope, illustrated bibles, each other and if they made it home, they carried unrelenting images of a nightmarish war that history is only beginning to absorb. Each man’s emotional burden weighs heavier than his physical burden. The willingness to carry extra physical burdens as an exchange for the slightest emotional and psychological relief exemplifies the role that good morale plays in getting us through trying circumstances. Sharpe 1 Against the backdrop of a bloody war, simple pleasures like peaches are something worth sacrificing for if they offer memories of love and warmth. For example, Henry Dobbins, a large man, always carries extra rations. He is especially fond of “canned peaches in heavy syrup over pound cake” (355). This is obviously some type of comfort food for him, probably one of the

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