(Source 2) Guilt in The Things They Carried - Guilt in The Things They Carried(Source 2 The title and opening story in The Things They Carried offers

(Source 2) Guilt in The Things They Carried - Guilt in The...

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Guilt in The Things They Carried (Source 2) The title and opening story in The Things They Carried offers lists of the items each soldier carries through the jungles of Vietnam. The lists include tangible items ("They carried Sterno, safety pins, trip flares, signal flares … and much more"), metaphorical items ("They carried the land itself.… They carried the sky.… [T]hey carried gravity"), and emotional items ("grief, terror, love, longing"). Throughout the rest of the novel's stories, though, guilt emerges as the one item that they all seem to carry but cannot share. Some of the guilt these men feel follows the killing of enemy combatants, as in the story "The Man I Killed." The narrator recounts the aftermath of throwing a grenade that kills a slight Vietnamese man walking toward him. The narrator studies the damage caused by a bullet to the face, repeating several descriptions and seemingly unable to acknowledge the efforts of his friend Kiowa to talk him out of his shock and to mitigate his feelings of guilt by pointing out that one of the others would have shot the man had the narrator not done so: "The guy was dead the second he stepped on the trail.
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