Categorized | Feature Article A Critical Analysis: The Things They Carried Posted on 14 October 2008 by admin By Ronnie Wright In his short story The Things They Carried, author Tim O’Brien reveals the horrendous physical conditions and fears a man will subject himself to in order to save his reputation. The story takes place around 1968. It’s a story about an Infantry Platoon fighting in the jungles of Vietnam and the weight, both physical and emotional, that they must carry. These modern day warriors were equipped with every piece of equipment you could imagine. Most of what the soldiers carried was largely determined by necessity, such as can openers, pocketknives, helmets and flack jackets (O’Brien 281).
Camaraderie is presented to a great extent in Greater Love. Out of Wilfred Owens’s collection Greater Love contains the most references to camaraderie. I agree with the above statement as Owen compares camaraderie to other types of love e.g. erotic. Throughout the poem erotic love is being compared to the "brotherly love" experienced by the soldiers.
Affield’s memoir illustrated the very real and raw aspects of war. Wendell’s personal account of life as a soldier started with the horrors of boot camp, eventually explained the terrors of war and finally ended with the rejection and ridicule that he and other soldiers endured on his return home. His detailed accounts helped readers better understand the situation and events that occurred during and after the war in Vietnam. Once Affield enlisted with the United States Navy he was originally stationed on a gunner Naval ship, USS Rogers, and traveled to Vietnam to aide in fighting the Vietnamese in the Gulf of Tonkin. This West Pac cruise was difficult, yet it ended up being one of the least devastating assignments of his Vietnam experience.
The characteristics of courage are very incompatible with procrastination. For example, Ferrari, Johnson, and McCown (as cited in Ling, 2012) in the conflict paradigm of decision making, showed that the decisional procrastinator is a maladaptive coping actor in a dilemma situation. In fact, by definition, a courageous person is an effective coping actor as well, at the proper moment.
In his epic collection of short stories, The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien moves past the physical atrocities of the Vietnam War to assess with sensitivity the psychological transformations of his many characters. Throughout each story, we are introduced to a number of individual soldiers from the Alpha Company, each with their unique qualities and traits that they “carry” with them through the ambiguous fields of war. As they become confronted by the “garden of evil” that is “Nam,” each man and woman is irrevocably changed by their experiences. We see soldiers expose their inner animal instincts as a result of their yearning to survive, as well as leadership qualities drawn out of young and immature individuals. Overall, O’Brien gives us a glimpse of the mental side of war as we witness the immense changes to young soldiers brought to Vietnam to fight for their country.
In some cases, this delusion may be the only thing that keeps one continuing on through life. It’s human nature to avoid conflicts and issues that we cannot handle, therefore one would surely go mad if faced with all the turmoil burdening life. At times when one feels unloved, vanity can be a wonderful thing. Seeing oneself as great, when no one else does, can be all one has. Vanity is the building up of oneself, boosting the ego and confidence, in order to make one feel more important.
The kind of strength that is needed is not necessarily physical strength, but mental. Unless someone is able to stay strong mentally, they will not be able to maintain courage or nobility. They may lose control of themselves easily, and turn a heroic act into a tragedy. These three characteristics are some of the most important features of a hero. It is what defines a hero.
Lacking the most important factor in the equation makes it impossible to know the right solution, he can only guess for the best. Catch-22 teaches us a very philosophical lesson; the right answer to some questions is not to answer one. Catch-22 tends to deal with rule. You can’t complete task A until after task B is completed, but you can’t complete task B until after task A is completed. The similarity of those two is that both are situations that decisions are made difficultly.
“The root cause of it turns out to not be laziness but impulsiveness,” Thomason exclaims. “We’re hard-wired from caveman days to be impulsive as a matter of survival, and while it’s now counterproductive in a lot of situations, we’re putting off won’t be perfect – is wrong too.” As business and psychology researcher Piers Steel says in his recent book, The Procrastination Equation, ancient man was designed to hunt, gather, eat and mate the instant a chance to do so arose, because an opportunity lost could mean the difference between living and dying out. We’ve outgrown this need, but it’s still factory-programmed into the brain. Steel’s theory, after years of work on human motivation – and the lack of it – is backed by numerous trials and meta-analyses, and boils down to the fact many of us are not wired to delay our gratification. We really have to work at it.
You can tell this because of some of the vocabulary and phrases in the poem. Those are: “who’ll grip a tackle...who’ll toe the line…come back with a crunch.”In the first three lines of each Quatrain is about if you go to war you will be considered a hero and the last line is about if you do not go you will be considered a coward. This poem says nothing very bad about war apart from the fact you may come back with a crutch, but the truth was you probably wouldn’t come back at all and if you did you would be missing limbs or be seriously injured. But in comparison the poem “Dulce et Decorum Est” written by Wilfred Owen aims to show war in it’s true form and in the worst possible way, so that people really know the truth and what it was like to be in the war. In the first stanza Owen describes the soldiers as they try to move away from their “shift” on the front line.