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The Things They Carried | Characters

Character Description
Tim O'Brien The narrator is a fictionalized version of the author who writes to come to terms with a war he didn't support but was forced to fight. Read More
Norman Bowker Norman Bowker is a member of Alpha Company who survives deployment but can find no "useful" role when he returns home. Read More
Jimmy Cross First Lieutenant Jimmy Cross leads Alpha Company, working hard to lead the men and sacrificing his needs to theirs. Read More
Henry Dobbins Henry Dobbins is a member of Alpha Company, a large, kind man and natural peacemaker. Read More
Rat Kiley Bob "Rat" Kiley is Alpha Company's competent medic and a natural storyteller who finally sees "too much gore" and breaks down. Read More
Kiowa Kiowa is a kind, devout member of Alpha Platoon whose death in the muddy field traumatizes the platoon. Read More
Mitchell Sanders Mitchell Sanders is a member of Alpha Company who seeks the "definite moral" in events. Read More
Azar Azar, a member of Alpha Company, is high strung and fond of violent pranks; he is not well liked by the other soldiers.
Mary Anne Bell Mary Anne Bell is Mark Fossie's 17-year-old girlfriend who travels to Tra Bong and becomes a nearly feral presence, melding with the landscape around her.
Elroy Berdahl Elroy Berdahl is an elderly man who runs a fishing camp on the Rainy River in northern Minnesota; he gives the narrator space to decide how to respond to being drafted.
Mr. Bowker Mr. Bowker is Norman Bowker's father. Norman imagines him listening with empathy to Norman's reflections on bravery and cowardice during his time in Vietnam.
Mrs. Bowker Norman Bowker's mother, she writes to O'Brien after her son's death by suicide.
Sally Gustafson (maiden name Kramer) Sally Gustafson is a girl Norman Bowker dated in high school. When he returns from the war, he considers visiting her but decides not to because she has since married.
Dave Jensen A member of Alpha Company, Dave is neat and practical and has a strong sense of fairness.
Bobby Jorgenson Bobby Jorgenson is a medic who mishandles the narrator's wound and against whom the narrator seeks revenge.
Kathleen Kathleen is the narrator's 10-year-old daughter; she hears his stories about the war and visits Vietnam with him.
Ted Lavender Ted Lavender is a member of Alpha Company who takes tranquilizers every day to keep the war "mellow;" a sniper kills him.
Curt Lemon Close friend of Rat Kiley, Curt Lemon is a member of Alpha Company who is killed by a booby-trapped round.
Linda Linda is Tim O'Brien's nine-year-old childhood sweetheart who dies of cancer.
Martha Martha is an English major at a college in New Jersey whose pictures and letters Jimmy Cross carries for a while in Vietnam.
Lee Strunk Lee Strunk is a member of Alpha Platoon who dies after a rigged mortar blows his right leg off.
Unidentified young Vietnamese soldier The unidentified soldier is likely the first man the narrator kills. The narrator obsessively dwells upon him in three stories.
Eddie Diamond Eddie Diamond is the easy-going NCO at Tra Bong who runs the medical detachment with more attention to "dope and Darvon" (painkillers) than to discipline.
Mark Fossie Mark Fossie is a medic serving with Rat Kiley at Tra Bong; he brings his girlfriend, Mary Anne, on an ill-advised visit to Vietnam.
The Greenies Stationed at Tra Bong, the six Green Berets (or "Greenies") carry out mysterious missions and keep apart from other soldiers.
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