things_they_carried - In his story"The Things They Carried...

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In his story “The Things They Carried”, Tim O’Brien describes a small group of soldiers and the items that they carry while marching through Vietnam. The things that the soldiers carry with them are both tangible and intangible items, and what these things are depends on the situation and the individual soldier. They carry the basic “necessities” for survival and the bare minimum to make their ordeal as bearable as possible. But they also carry memories, and fears, and it is intangible items like these that are the primary focus of the story. The weight of these abstract items is as real as that of any physical ones, and unlike those physical objects, they are not so easily thrown away. No one felt the weight of these items more than Lieutenant Jimmy Cross. “The things they carried were largely determined by necessity…” (434) The soldiers carried weapons, extra rations, and supplies based on their own personal needs while they marched. Kiowa carries a Bible, Mitchell Sanders carries brass knuckles, and Lavender carries tranquilizers, and marijuana to calm his nerves. The men also carry items that remind them of home and the ones they left behind. Henry Dobbins carries his girlfriend’s pantyhose, Kiowa carries his grandfather’s hunting hatchet, and Lt. Cross carries letters, pictures, and a pebble from Martha, the girl he was dating back home. O’Brien details at
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