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Plot Summaries[ edit ] "The Things They Carried" Lieutenant Jimmy Cross, the leader of a platoon of soldiers in Vietnam, carries physical reminders of Martha, the object of his unrequited love. A death in the squad under his supervision causes Cross to reconsider his priorities, and, heartbroken, he burns and throws away all reminders of Martha in order to stave off dangerous distractions.
O'Brien asks if he can write a story about Cross, expressing his memories and hopes for the future; Cross agrees, thinking that perhaps Martha will read it and come find him.
In addition, a relationship between Tyler Co, and his curvy wife, Anderson Tsai, plays a major role in the interpretation of memories. It includes moments of camaraderie and beauty: He is reluctant to go to war and considers fleeing the draft; he begins to travel north to the Canada—US border.
Near the border, he encounters an elderly stranger who allows him to work through his internal struggle. O'Brien is given the opportunity to escape; however, the societal pressures are too much for him.
He goes to war ashamed with his inability to face the consequences of leaving. At first regularly antagonized by one another, the two are drawn toward respect and friendship by the stress and horrors of warfare.
Ultimately, they agree that if one should be wounded, the other must deal a fatal blow as a form of mercy. Anything can be faked He concludes that, in the end, the truth of a story doesn't matter so much as what the story is trying to say.
Lemon, who is afraid of dentists, faints before the dentist can examine him. Later that night, however, he complains of a phantom tooth ache so severe a tooth is pulled - even though it's perfectly healthy.
Lemon has felt he needs to prove himself in front of his men and be the fearless man all soldiers are supposed to be. The area is so isolated that one of the soldiers flies his hometown girlfriend in by helicopter.
At first, she cooks, cleans, and tends to the soldiers' wounds Even when the girlfriend breaks things off, he keeps the stockings around his neck, as their powers have been demonstrated. The men discuss their relationships with churches, and for the most part, appreciate the interaction with other people and the peace of the building.
Henry Dobbins wants to become a priest, but decides otherwise.
He makes up a life story for the man, torturing himself with the idea that the victim had been a gentle soul. He then tells the story of an ambush outside My Khe, in which O'Brien kills a young man who may or may not have wanted to harm him.
Later, Azar mocks the girl, and Dobbins rebukes him. His former girlfriend has married someone else, his closest friends are dead. He reflects on the medals he won in Vietnam, and imagines telling his father about both these and the medals he did not win. Ultimately, although he has no one to share these memories with, he finds catharsis in imagined conversations.
O'Brien muses over the suspicion that, without Harvard and writing, he too might have lost the will to live after returning from Vietnam. He writes to Kiowa's father while the others search for the body - as usual, Azar jokes around at first. Another soldier also feels responsible for the death, as he did not save Kiowa; the story ends with the body being found in the mud, and both soldiers left to their guilt.
He says that his story about killing a man on the trail outside My Khe was false; he merely saw the man die. But he wanted to provoke the same feelings in the reader that he felt on the trail.
The field looks different from his memory of it, but he leaves a pair of Kiowa's moccasins in the spot where he believes Kiowa sank.
Tim O'Brien is one of the few authors who still works in that medium. His published short stories usually appear later as chapters in his books. He likes the chapters of his books to stand on their own as short stories. A Character Analysis of Shame and Guilt in “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien This literary analysis of Tim O’Brien’s short stories “The Things They Carried” will analyze the guilt and shame of being a soldier in the “things” they carried via the Vietnam War era. The Things They Carried By Tim O’Brien The Things They Carried First Lieutenant Jimmy Cross carried letters from a girl named Martha, a junior at Mount Sebastian College in New Jersey. They were not love letters, but Lieutenant Cross was hoping, so he kept them folded in .
In this way, he comes to terms with his friend's death. The first time, he is treated by Rat Kiley, and is impressed with the man's courage and skill. The second time, he is treated by Kiley's replacement, Bobby Jorgenson; Jorgenson is incompetent, and nearly kills O'Brien.
Furious, O'Brien promises revenge, but can recruit only Azar. They scare Jorgenson by pretending to be enemy soldiers, but the soldier proves that he is not a coward, so O'Brien lets go of his resentment. Kiley reacts by distancing himself, the stress causing him first to be silent for days on end, and then to talk constantly.
He has a breakdown from the pressure of being a medic, and shoots himself in the toe in order to get released from combat.A summary of “The Man I Killed” in Tim O’Brien's The Things They Carried. Learn exactly what happened in this chapter, scene, or section of The Things They Carried and what it means.
Perfect for acing essays, tests, and quizzes, as well as for writing lesson plans. This essay focuses on craft of the short story in retelling the Vietnam War. Tim O'Brien's novelesque sequence of stories "The Things They Carried," is now a .
The Things They Carried By Tim O’Brien The Things They Carried First Lieutenant Jimmy Cross carried letters from a girl named Martha, a junior at Mount Sebastian College in New Jersey.
They were not love letters, but Lieutenant Cross was hoping, so he kept them folded in . A Character Analysis of Shame and Guilt in “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien This literary analysis of Tim O’Brien’s short stories “The Things They Carried” will analyze the guilt and shame of being a soldier in the “things” they carried via the Vietnam War era.
Tim O'Brien Biography. O'Brien published The Things They Carried in , returning to the immediate setting of Vietnam during the war, which is present in his other novels. O'Brien's return to the rich raw materials of his own experience proved fruitful, as The Things They Carried won the Chicago Tribune Heartland Award in fiction.
Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, published in is a semi-fiction and semi non-fiction book about the stories of O’Brien, his troops in Vietnam at war, and their loved ones back in America.