The personal items each of the soldiers carries symbolizes their personality. They were taking out their frustration on the village, even though it presented no real threat. He is the platoon leader, and the man that should always be the most reliable, but he is not at all. To them, there must be meaning, and meaning is what they desperately lack. She ties the entire book together. A scholar who would rather study than fight.
The superstitious symbols they carried with them throughout the war allow the reader to feel all of the emotional baggage and terror that these men endure sunrise to sunset. He thought that abandoning his entire life and moving to Canada was possibly the best option for him, as he had absolutely no desire to go to war. He doesn't push O'Brien to make one choice or another, and he doesn't judge him either way. In the beginning, O'Brien recalls when a fellow soldier, Azar, strapped a puppy to a mine and squeezed the firing device. She wants to become a part of the land, a part of the violence. Vietnam has reduced the men to depravity and they are disgusted with themselves.
Many parts of the story take place when the men are tucked away in their holes, which represent not only the physical danger that the men are in, but also how each person is separated spiritually. Instead, it's a symbol for his mental state at the time. They carry pocket knives, can openers, wristwatches, lighters, matches, gum, mosquito repellant, dog tags, salt tablets, stamps, letters, and good luck charms. These burdens often do not find an outlet for relief. She represents all of our first experiences with death and grief. The young men are thrown into a situation for which they are not ready. They conclude that the stockings are magic.
He was a witness, like God, or like the gods, who look on in absolute silence as we live our lives, as we make our choices or fail to make them. He drove around all day on the 4th of July, just looking to tell his story. This young man shows Tim's guilt at the lives taken by war even those he did not take himself. Regardless of the meaning of the dance, O'Brien makes it clear that the American soldiers do not understand either why she dances or what the dance means. Although every member of the Alpha Company experiences fear at some point, showing fear will only reveal vulnerability to both the enemy and sometimes cruel fellow soldiers.
Symbolism The symbols used in the story are very clear. His collection of stories asks us to help carry the burden of the Vietnam War as part of our collective past. Eventually, though, he backs off the edge. His ability to communicate with his friends and parents. Puppy and Water Buffalo The puppy and baby water buffalo symbolize innocence and purity.
To them, there must be meaning, and meaning is what they desperately lack. O'Brien names his book The Things They Carried after the objects that the soldiers in his platoon have to carry on their backs. The emotional weight carried by Cross symbolized the trauma he is feeling during the war. Minor Characters The platoon can be seen as one character. The other men dig to try to get their comrade out, however, they feel it is almost an impossible task. Early in the book he talks about his attempt to dodge the draft. O'Brien primarily uses symbols to convey the psychological effects of the Vietnam War, as well as the soldiers' loss of innocence.
All they can do is make large dance-like gestures, mocking what they cannot, but what they desperately want to, understand. While I was reading this book one question that kept running through my mind was in regard to the depth of information about the physical weights of the soldiers' items. The entire anecdote is a metaphor for how the war takes American youth and purity and corrupts it, leaving a series of teenage killing machines. She is Tim's first love and first death. The women wait at home for the men to return dirty and lonely from war. The stress of the war, the strangeness of Vietnam, and the youth of the soldiers combine to create psychological dangers that intensify the inherent risks of fighting.
Additionally, the men feel the weight of guilt, responsibility and the fear of being seen as a coward. The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien: Free BookNotes Summary All Content Copyright©TheBestNotes. Baggage and Excrement One of the most important symbols in the narrative is baggage. He saw many people die and even killed someone. This scene reinforces how the soldiers in the platoon have lost their sense of humanity after witnessing the brutal horrors of war. If it had been possible, which it wasn't, he would have explained how his friend Kiowa slipped away that night beneath the dark swampy field.