Essential Questions About ‘The Things They Carried’

Through “The Things They Carried” Author Tim O’Brien describes and explains the things he and the others soldiers carried during their large and suffocating time they spent in Vietnam after being drafted by force, not by choice. Because many soldiers in Vietnam were drafted by force and many of them were teens in their 20 and 25.

What things they carried?

Jimmy Cross carried letters from Martha, but as his position as Lieutenant he carried navigation tools and the big responsibility for the life’s of his men. Rat Kiley as the doctor of the group carries medicine, surgical tape and several other things that may in total weight about 20 pounds along with his comic books. Ted Lavender a very scared soldier, he carried a great quantity of ammunition among with the ammunition he also carried a great amount of tranquilizers and marijuana to calm himself of the terrifying war.

What do those things they carried mean through the novel?

During the Vietnam War the things they carried mean and depend on their rank and role. As a Lieutenant Jimmy Cross carries navigation tools, and different kind of guns to protect his men’s life. But he also carries photographs of Martha and those photos distract him from what is really important, his duty of protecting his men. Kiley as the medic for Cross and his men he is well known for the ability to treat wounded men under pressure. Eventually Kiley loses his composure during the war and in a desperate try to be forced out of combat he accidentally shots himself in the toe. Ted Lavender carried a lot of ammunitions and tranquilizers to calm himself down since he was always scared. Although the great quantity of ammunition he was the first to die. He was shot in the head after returning from the bathroom.

What do the things they all carried had in common?

After seen what Cross, Lavender, and Kiley carried. They all had something in common, they all carried physical and emotional burdens. The things they carried are both literal and figurative. O’Brien tells in the novel that they all carried the fear of shame, but they also were being haunted by the guilt and they are looking for someone to blame.

The Other Things They Carried.

Often the things they carried also varied by mission. If the mission took them to the mountains they carried machetes, canvas tarps, mosquito netting and an extra bug juice. When they were on ambush or at night missions Kiley carried Brandy and M&M’s candy. Lavender carried a starlight scope that weighed 6.3 pounds with his aluminum carrying case.

What they all carried?

Often they carry each other, the wounded and the weak. They all carried different infections and diseases with them. Among them they carried malaria and dysentery. But often O’Brien describe how they carry the land itself talking about Vietnam, the place, the soil and the powdery orange-red dust that cover most of their boots and tired faces.

In conclusion “The Things They Carried “ by Tim O’Brien besides describing the things the men carried it also give a great emphasis on how those things vary depending their situation and or mission and how cruel was the war for the man the fear many of the soldiers felt.