“The Things They Carried” by Tim O&#39 - IdmcrackfreedownloadInfo

“The Things They Carried” by Tim O&#39

Web Page for talk on Tim
O’Brien, The Things They Carried

Belleville Public Library, Wednesday, March 10, 1999 1 p.m.

Grover Furr, English Department, Montclair State University

Hi! Thanks for dropping by!

You can use the pages linked here to learn more about The Things They
about Tim O’Brien’s other writings, and about the Vietnam War generally.
This page is not exhaustive — it’s somewhere to begin.

Tim O’Brien Home

This is the basic Internet resource. All but one or two of the other links
here related to Tim O’Brien are also linked on this page. I just include a few of special
interest. Browse this page thoroughly!

Vietnam In Me" —
O’Brien’s own essay from The New York Times
in 1994, including his very pointed discussion of the My Lai Massacre (In
the Lake of the Woods
, O’Brien’s 1994 novel, concerns a fictional veteran who was
also a participant in this massacre).

Interview — The Heart Under Stress: Interview with author Tim O’Brien .

"After a notorious 1994 New York Times Magazine essay that was tantamount to a
suicide note and a breakdown during a reading in Ann Arbor, Michigan, writer Tim O’Brien
began, slowly, to confront his demons." A short but important interview, just

    OF DENIAL: Tim O’Brien, My Lai, and America" ,
    by H. Bruce Franklin
    of Rutgers University/Newark Campus. An essay about In the Lake of the Woods, but
    also about O’Brien’s portrayal of the Vietnam War and its impact on America.

Materials on The Things They Carried

  • "The
    Truth in Things: Personal Trauma As Historical Amnesia in The Things They Carried"
    by Jim Neilson. Searching analysis of O’Brien’s technique in Things, and quite
    critical of O’Brien’s implicit analysis of the politics of the Vietnam War.
  • "How
    to tell a true war story’: Metafiction in ‘The Things They Carried"
    , by
    Catherine Calloway (originally in Critique, June 1995).
  • Reviews of
    O’Brien’s works from the Archives of The New York Times .
    material on Things, as well as other material, including the interview from 1990,
    Storyteller For the War That Won’t End"

Materials on In The Lake of the Woods

See the "review" section on the Tim O’Brien Home page (see above). The only
review no longer available there that I can find elsewhere is:

  • Time Magazine review, October 24, 1994

Materials on The Vietnam War
Here are a very few sites that will help you get started in learning about the
history of the Vietnam War — a history which is quite absent from O’Brien’s works, as he
is mostly concerned with issues of memory and writing.

Furr’s Vietnam War Page
This is my page of links to materials on the
Vietnam War. See also

  • Home Page for
    the course "The Vietnam War and American Culture,"
    which I teach
    every Fall semester.

More Chomsky on
atrocities in Cambodia.
A few remarks by a major scholar of the Vietnam
War about the extent to which American atrocities are overlooked in the US.

war museum lacks ‘historical balance’"
Joe Surkiewicz, former
newspaper reporter and now free-lancer, keeps this site called "Sun Lies",
on which he keeps tabs on the pro-corporate, nationalistic bias of The
Baltimore Sun
(generally considered one of the half-dozen or so
"best" newspapers in the United States). This is the link to the March 10, 1999
issue, in which a Sun writer complains about the "pro-Vietnamese" bias
of a Vietnam War museum in — Vietnam! [NOTE: This is no longer available as of November
2004. I’m going to try to get it again from the author. – GF]

The Vietnam War was a horrible event. It’s impossible to study it without being
emotionally affected, even "wounded" in some way. It is usually not a
comfortable experience. But it is a very important one.

I hope you enjoy these materials!

Sincerely, Grover Furr

http://chss.montclair.edu/english/furr/Vietnam/timobrientalk.html | [email protected] | updated 11 Nov 04


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Multimedia Essay – The Things They Carried (Tim O’ Brien)

E-Learning ENG4U-01 (ISP assignment)


Harpreet Dhindsa

on 18 August 2013


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Transcript of Multimedia Essay – The Things They Carried (Tim O’ Brien)

The Things They Carried
Tim O’ Brien

Multimedia Essay
By. Harpreet Dhindsa

Websites and Books:
."The Things They Carried." Barnes & Noble. N.p., n.d.
"The Truth About War Stories by James Aguilar." The Truth About War Stories, a Journal by James Aguilar. Poets Love Poem at Allpoetry.
"Theme of Tim O’Brien "The Things They Carried"" Suite101. N.p., n.d.
Videos and Photos:
"Google." Images Google. N.p., n.d.
"The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien – Minute Book Report." YouTube. YouTube, 13 May 2013.

Carrying The Weight of Vietnam (Essay)
The Setting of the novel takes place during the Vietnam War in a Jungle. It also takes place in Massachusetts during the 1960’s and late 1980’s.
"A true war story is never moral " (68) Tim O`Brien
Plot Summary
The truth of war is not always easy…
O’Brien is a Vietnam War Veteran who is still emotionally damaged by this war. He describes significant objects that some of his men carried like the letters from a loved one to symbolize how close they can be or even pantyhose to symbolize the comfort of having an object as silly as this real close. He then describes stories some of his men had told him. In "The Man I Killed" O’Brien mentions that he sees a man come out of fog and reacted poorly, pulled the pin on a grenade and threw it towards the Vietnamese soldier. O’Brien says that he saw the VC die but that O’Brien hadn’t killed him, war did. He then feels guilty, but Kiowa cheers him up and up to today, he can still see the VC come out of fog. In the end, a lesson is learned from the dead. O’Brien learns that storytelling has the power to keep the dead alive. This lesson is learned from Linda whom he loved and died of a Brain Tumor.
Conflict and Resolution
The conflict O’Brien and some of the men in his platoon are the painful memories of the Vietnam War and the long-term effects of it. An internal conflict is the fact that he can’t explain every feeling of being in the war and seeing the things he saw to people who weren’t in the war. An external conflict would have to be the loss of men in this war and seeing the true immaturity a war can bring out in a person. He Solves his problem by storytelling in a sense to make the listener feel as if they were experiencing it.
“Writing so powerful that it steals your breath,” (Milwaukee Journal) is one of the many compliments that begins to describe the exceptional storytelling and “imaginative literature” (Washington Post) of Tim O’Brien. The Things They Carried is no exception to his amazing narration, as it is a novel that associates itself with the Vietnam War, which takes place after the Cold War, in an era where communism dominates the Eastern World. Based on the struggles and hardships inflicted upon the members of a particular platoon, Alpha Company, the narration explains the horrors of war and its impact on the characters within the story. The key difference between The Things They Carried and other typical, war-time novels is that the events which unfold within the book are established on the basis of the author’s personal experiences during his time in Vietnam. Due to the insight which is provided about the conflict that took place in the 1970s, the story is told with incredible realism and extraordinary imagery. These literary features allow the readers to sympathize towards the characters within the novel as well as the author. With a profound experience about war and its effect upon its soldiers, Tim O’Brien discreetly outlines the key elements which help develop the characters throughout their journey. The behavioural development of the characters throughout the novel is mainly due to the setting of the book, which mostly takes place in the jungles and patty fields that dominate the country’s landscape.

Therefore, throughout The Things They Carried by Tim O’ Brien, the development of the characters’ behaviors and the actions they commit are heavily influenced by the setting during the Vietnam War, where death and isolation were the prominent themes.
Three Body Paragraphs consist Of:
The setting of the Vietnam landscape instigates the development in character behavior through the confinement of the jungle landscape,

The concealment of the enemies

The adaptation caused by their new environment.
Body Paragraph 1

First of all, the development of the characters’ behaviors and actions they commit are heavily provoked by the setting of the dense landscape of Vietnam which evokes confinement.
Content/Proof/ Explanation (1)

The suffocating jungles pursue the theme of isolation which influences the characters within the novel to develop a mental state of limitation which leaves them isolated. The shift in conception from the real, conscious world, into a world that is both insane and abnormal to the accustomed eye detaches the behavior of characters which ultimately causes them to lose self-identity. When Mitchell Sanders, a good friend of Tim, ventures on a basic listening-post operation, to listen to enemy movement, the fog and mountain landscape confines the six-men who were with him, to a point of outrage and impatience.
One night, Mitchell Sanders and the other men "start(s) to [hear] voices. Like at a cocktail party" (70)
Point 2
Throughout their seven day long watch. What they believe as civilized acts, based on their past experiences, are haunting them in the present time by provoking memories in an uncivilized world. With outrage a product of their detachment to reasoning, the men had orders to napalm the whole forest to end their misery of isolation.

When they were hearing things that was “all very civilized, except this is’nt civilization,” (71) it reveals the abnormal state of mind that the confinement has caused,
Context/Proof/ Explanation (2)
Secondly, when Tim talks to Sanders about order and chaos, Sanders was right about the overlapping boundary between right and wrong. When Tim states,

it indicates that the jungles had caused the soldiers, who were alienated to this part of the world, to lose sense in what was to be American. Initially, these soldiers came to Vietnam to fight for order and peace
“the old rules are no longer binding, the old truths are no longer true,” (78)
Point 3
Initially, these soldiers came to Vietnam to fight for order and peace. Often history refers this war as Liberation from Evil; however it was ironic to see the same soldiers detaching themselves from their own values and beliefs.

Context/ Proof/ Explanation (3)
As Tim recalled, “order blends into chaos … law into anarchy, civility into savagery.” (78)
This affirms the idea that the insane ideas have become sane to the unaccustomed eyes of the soldiers and mental state of confinement isolates them from their origins, in terms of their value system, to a point where they lose their sight in self-identity. With close to many of the men within the platoon losing their sense of reasoning and detaching themselves from the main reason they have come to fight this war, their thinking becomes an ideal breeding ground for their fear of death especially when the landscape becomes another enemy in their fight.
Body Paragraph 2

Secondly, the behavioral development of the characters and the actions they commit are heavily influenced by the setting of the dense landscape within Vietnam, which conceals the enemies from the sights of the platoon. The heavy forestry and jungle environment helps the concealed trees to harbor the enemies which induce the fear within the characters, developing a mental state of paranoia. The paranoia eventually consumes the soldiers of their peace and happiness, however further energizes the soldier to want more so that they can feel alive. Due to the chance of dying, without warning, the concealment of the enemies arouses the theme of death. When Tim was shot in the butt during a fight in Song Tra Bong, Bobby Jorgensen took nearly ten minutes to come over and help him out. Due to his inability to move towards him because of his immense fear of death, Tim becomes hospitalized due to shock.
“I’ll get him, I’ll get him,” (191)

his vow becomes that of indicating some sort of compensation for Bobby’s ignorance. The concealed enemies place a notion within Tim which was the fear of dying. If he was not lucky, he would have died when he was shot in the butt and was not treated for shock on the battlefield.

This separation from his platoon members leaves a hole in Tim, which eventually makes him conceive the thought of revenge towards Bobby. As he announces one day,
Point 2
This incident eventually pushes him towards hating on his own team members, specifically Bobby, rather than the person who shot him, which is one of the reasons that lead Tim to commit a prank against Bobby
Context/Proof/Explanation (1)
to make it happen. Since by pranking him in the middle of the night with flash grenades. By provoking Bobby’s thoughts that there were enemies concealed away even though there was not, induces more fear within Bobby that night, falling victim to the torture of dying before death. It the same feeling many of the soldiers feel during their patrol, which Tim O’Brien illustrates through his own vengeance. However, the enemies which conceal themselves within this foreign land did not have to be human
“psychology – the one thing [he] knew” (195)
To make Bobby paranoid about death like Tim did, he uses
“darkness squeezes you inside yourself,” Tim “cut [Bobby Jorgenson] from the outside world,” and let the “imagination [take] over,” (195)
Context/Proof/Explanation (2)
Point 3

In the case of Curt Lemon, his life was taken away from him by stepping on a concealed land mine. After the platoon stop to rest, Curt Lemon and Rat Kiley, start goofing around with the smoke grenade which eventually causes Curt’s death.

Context/Proof/Explanation (3)
“[lift] him up and [suck] him high into a tree full of moss and vines and white blossoms” (67).
This situation is ironic because it demonstrates a subtle wanting to die, like Curt. The way he is taken away from the hell that they call the battlefield, and finally find peace within them evokes the sweet tenderness of death. Instead of dying each day, fighting the enemies that are not there and losing to opponents that are hiding within their land, one can say that dying was one of the ways out of his psychological warfare. Although his death was like any other soldiers’ end, the unexpected arrival of his doom leaves behind paranoia within the members of the platoon, scarring their perception and making them cautious with every movement they make. With the constant threat of enemies attacking with surprise, at the soldiers which stand alienated in the Vietnamese land, it is obvious that paranoia will linger in the minds of these fighters. However, with emotions sprouting from the fear of death, the adaptive nature of humans develops the members of the platoon to harmonize with its environment.
Tim’s description of Curt’s death presumes Curt as godly as the life within his body is taken away from him as if fate wants his soul. All that it needs was the noise from the detonator to.
Body Paragraph 3
Lastly, the setting of Vietnam landscape instigates the development in character behavior surrounding the new environment which causes adaptation; through the use of coping methods that seek relief within the platoon. The setting within the country of Vietnam influences the characters to evolve adaptations to cope with the theme of death and isolation, which assists their journey in retaining the peace within their souls. One of the most noticeable coping mechanisms which develop throughout the novel is through the main character of Tim O’Brien, in his transformation from a soldier to a writer.
Point 2

Context/Proof Explanation (2)
Context/Proof/Explanation (1)

These characters represent the people taken away from him due to the theme of death. Even though Linda was not part of the war, she becomes part of the fantasy world he had creates through his writing.

“keep dreaming Linda alive. And Ted Lavender … and Kiowa, and Curt Lemon, and a slim young man I killed” (213).
This coping method develops the behaviour of Tim’s character by allowing him an escape from the horrors of war, and the themes that surround it such as death. It is true that stories are written to remove the burdens that soldiers carry in their memories. However it allows characters such as Tim to
Although writing these memories down do not bring the dead alive, they do fill the emotional void of making the dead.
This type of adaptation provides an escape from reality and allows Tim to visit his other dimension. Although insane to most, the written memories allow a keepsake for the dead he once knew, keeping them alive through the written literature. The writing grants him the boon to recall upon them, removing his guilt that could have possibly haunted him to the end. If he did not develop such a technique, it would have been a matter of time before he lose his mind, over the dead he saw, and end up like Rat Kiley, hardly recognizable and suicidal. Another coping method to relax the mind from the monstrosity of war is the drugs used to tranquilize Ted Lavender into maintaining peace. The ‘realm of Hades,’ is a reflection of the foreign environment to the young fighters within this war.
“smile and sit up and return to the world” (213).
Point 3

A person who is to experience the eminent theme of death and isolation is subjected to unbearable pain mentally.
Context/Proof/Explanation (3)
“Mellow man. We got ourselves a nice mellow war today,” (32)
tranquilizers. It was due to such hallucinogens that he was still able to return from a fight and utter words like, without the fear of dying like the rest of the soldiers in the platoon. Ironically, the same drugs used to retain his peace and keep his mind stable blew up as he got shot in the head. In order to adapt to a new environment, the human mind adapts to meet the needs of their host. However throughout the journey in this story, the environment had been the independent variable developing the fighters and surveying their every change.
To detach himself from the real world and adapt himself to the new land, he uses
In conclusion, throughout The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien, the development of the characters’ behaviours and the actions they commit are heavily influenced by the setting during the Vietnam War, where death and isolation were the prominent themes. Due to the confinement of the jungle landscape, the concealment of the forestry and the adaptation that requires the platoon to survive and seek relief, the behaviours of the characters adapts and develops throughout the journey of the novel. The unique setting during the Vietnam War influences the development of characters, psychologically and emotionally, changing their perspectives and perception of the world entirely. This growth in character insight throughout the book has major influences in the character depth and understanding. Like a character within the story, the setting had reveals character traits that makes the reader sympathize towards the members of the platoon. Hence, the setting has been an important role within the story because it is the reason why readers are able to fully understand each of the characters and their individual personalities.
By: Harpreet Dhindsa
There are many themes or lessons learned in this novel but I think the most powerful would have to be the ability of story telling. Thus ability or power is beyond imaginable. To be able to keep someone alive while they’re dead using memory of them is incredible

Other major themes include:


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