the things they carried - Mackenzie Cope Mr. Romano English...

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Mackenzie Cope Mr. Romano English 110 February 14, 2008 Escaping Fear in “The Things They Carried” Tim O’Brian’s short story “The Things They Carried” takes a perceptive look into the world of war and love. They find themselves in the midst of death and despair, hiding in their thoughts and material processions, trying hard not to distinguish the difference between reality and dreams… just to get by. This shocking narrative reaches into the lives of soldiers, bringing the truth of the danger and fear of war to the reader. O’Brian follows the lives of Lieutenant Jimmy Cross and his soldiers deep into the jungle of Vietnam, fighting a war against the enemy, and themselves by holding onto the things they hold closest in their hearts, even when they cannot hold it in their hands. The soldiers and Cross mask their fear with thoughts of safety and comfort in a place where safety is the furthest thing from reach. In an attempt to escape they dream, dream to get away from the reality of the looming death and the solemn war, but instead are burdened with fear; fear that they try so hard to mask with visions of women, and thoughts of home, but still, they are inevitably tormented with that constant fear of death and destruction. The extra guns and ammunition, tools to keep themselves alive, weigh them down with the weight of trepidation and apprehension. Ted Lavender carries extra weight in safety equipment and tranquilizers throughout Vietnam, it states twice in the context of the story “Ted Lavender, who was scared” (1415-17) and it was that fear that turned him into “dead weight” when he is shot. “There was no twitching or flopping… it was like watching a rock fall, or a big sandbag or something- just boom, then down”(1417). In their
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Cope 2 constant fear of the war, the soldiers carry with them what they hold dearest to keep them strong. Their hearts carry a heavy burden, but they have the simple things to take their minds away from the war and take them back into their homes, where they feel safe and loved. Like Henry Dobbins “who was a big man… was especially fond of canned peaches in heavy syrup over
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This note was uploaded on 04/30/2008 for the course ENG 105 taught by Professor Romano during the Spring '08 term at University of North Carolina Wilmington.

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the things they carried - Mackenzie Cope Mr. Romano English...

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