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Examining the Book - the Things They Carried

Essay by   •  May 29, 2011  •  Book/Movie Report  •  289 Words (2 Pages)  •  1,892 Views

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My initial impressions of the first chapter of the book "The Things They Carried" (O'Brien, Tim) were overall generally positive. I think in the first chapter the author (Tim O'Brien) intended for the reader to get familiar with each of the main characters of the story. I will take it a bit further however, O'Brien not only wanted to the reader to get familiar with the characters of the story, but also provide some symbolic context about the things they carried and how each of these items identified the individual character. For instance, Lieutenant Cross carried letters written by Martha. These letters Cross carried can be looked as a metaphor with a twist of irony as the burden Cross carried weighed mere ounces yet had such a profound impact on his daily life and dragged him every day. Cross was in love with Martha, she was all he thought about, yet the feelings were not reciprocated back. He carried this weight, everywhere he went, in all of his patrols, he carried her letters. Others carried new testaments, comic books and even illegal drugs. The author detailed how much weight each soldier carried in their weaponry, day-to-day supplies, to contraband. It even mentioned one of the "lucky charms" given to LT Cross, a pebble that weighed less than an ounce , was one of the more meaningful items carried by Cross throughout his journey. The basic premise of the chapter in my humble opinion, was that people even in the midst conflict maintain their identity. War is one of the most troublesome aspects of humanity yet Tim O'Brien was able to give the characters in the story a personality, an identity which tends to be lost during warfare and conflict.



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