Hello, I am looking for someone to write an essay on The Things They Carried by Tim OBrien. Material and Emotional Burdens. It needs to be at least 750 words.
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The Things They Carried is Tim O’Brien’s semi-autobiographical novel of the Vietnam War. It comprises of twenty-two short stand alone pieces which and are a part of the interconnected whole. “The Things They Carried” is the first piece. At first, it appears to be a catalogue of the items carried by a platoon of soldiers. However, it soon becomes evident that the author’s objective is not just to give an informative inventory of a soldier’s baggage. It is rather a clever device to arouse reader interest in the coming story. In this piece, and particularly in paragraph 39, there is an exhaustive list of the things carried by the men of the platoon. O’Brien skillfully uses this detailed list to give the reader valuable insight into the different material and emotional burdens the soldiers carry, and paints a vivid picture of the horror of the Vietnam War.
The material things carried by the men of the platoon are catalogued in paragraph 39. They reflect criteria laid down earlier. Some of the things are “largely determined by necessity”. The stationary, ammunition, rations, water, the radio and signal flares are all necessities for survival. The burdens are also “partly a function of rank, partly of field specialty”. As the platoon leader, Jimmy Cross carries maps and a compass. Mitchell Sander’s duties as RTO mandate the huge radio. Some things, such as the insect repellant, reflect the mission’s specific terrain. Others are “determined to some extent by superstition”….
dbags that could be filled at night for added protection” (O’Brien, 11), the signal flares, the radio, and the ammunition all make the reader aware that this is a group of men always conscious that they marched in “a place where men died because of carelessness and gross stupidity” (O’Brien, 17). Their burdens are a grim reminder that death is lying in wait at every step they take. The soldiers carry “all the emotional baggage of men who might die” (O’Brien, 15). The things the men carry outside are symbolic of the emotional and psychological burdens they carry inside. Cross carries his imaginary love, and “phantom jealousy” (O’Brien, 9) as a means of escape from the reality of his situation. Ted Lavender has opiates to dull his deep fear. “they all carried ghosts” (O’Brien, 9) and hyperactive imaginations. Paragraph 39 also gives the reader a poignant glimpse into the comradeship which redeems the life of the platoon. The men share “the weight of memory” (O’Brien, 11) of past death and hardships. They shoulder each other’s burdens, and their wounded comrades. They share their guilt at being alive while others are dead, their shame and humiliation at occasional demonstrations of panic, and the bravado which conceals their fear of dying. Above all, “They carried the common secret of cowardice barely restrained” (O’Brien, 15). These burdens are all a part of the horror of war. The author makes the reader feel the weight of the burden of the war. In addition to the material and emotional burdens shouldered by the platoon, they also “carried lice and ringworm and leeches and paddy algae and various rots and molds” (O’Brien, 11).