Tim O’Brien, the author of The Things They Carried, tells a story of how much a Vietnam war could affect one and who one becomes. Reading and analyzing the story really made me think, and feel the way these soldiers did in the book with what was happening. Tim is very detailed when it comes to the things the soldiers carried, not only to the things they carried but what their actual feelings were. Usually in these types of books there are certain dates that are a big deal, but in this book there is never a specific date to which something happens, but everyday life.
O’Brien uses lots of literary art, he has a humorous yet to the point kind of writing. This book is told in third person, and weird enough the narrator is not even in it. Tim was able to write this in that person and still truly emphasize the feeling that these soldiers felt, making you feel the same. It made me think of how much war can have such a physical and mental burden on one’s life. Not only did he show how it is a burden with their feelings but also themselves, physically. Vietnam soldiers had to carry so much weight with them everywhere they went, that is complete exhaustion. I couldn’t imagine the work they had to put into everyday life, just to survive. Everyday we are handed what we want and can never truly understand the feeling of what they had to go through. It makes me thankful for all that I have.
Their hard work now encourages me to keep going, because that is all they did, they didn’t stop. Each individual story had its own meaning behind it, and it truly left me with some emotion. The deaths were heartbreaking. Some taking ownership in killing and feeling the ache, even if they didn’t do so. Some felt responsible. Others wish they could have done something different to prevent something they didn’t want to happen. I had many different feelings while reading this book. Some times I was confused, sometimes I was sad and sometimes I felt guilty, but I was never happy or had a smile on my face. People don’t realize the heartache that soldiers go through.
Soldiers are not just soldiers, they are humans and they have emotions too. They do things they can’t undo, see things that can’t unsee and lie there at night thinking of the trauma that hit them. This book made me have more sympathy for soldiers, of any sort. Made me think and care about them more. I always knew that war had a big effect on soldiers, but I never knew exactly what they might feel. O’Brien really accumulates the damage it brought on to them. I enjoyed reading this book but to some extent I was genuinely confused and heartbroken at some points. Thanks to Tim O’brien I now have a different look on war itself, it has opened my eyes to the harm it can do to someone and growth it can lead to. Still today people do not understand the physical and emotional pressure that these soldiers felt, then and now.