Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried

A review of Tim O’Brien’s Vietnam war novel, “The Things They Carried”.

This paper examines “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’ Brien, the story of 12 soldiers, members of the Third Platoon, Alpha Company, Fifth Battalion of the 16th Infantry, 198th Infantry Brigade of the American Division in the Vietnam War of 1969. It looks at how O’Brien relates his and his companions’ desolate and fatal experiences during that war and how he uses those experiences to explore the complications of memory and trauma, the most lasting of the things he and his companions endured, and which have remained with him to this day. It examines how it lists the many things they carried into war that were more real and terrifying than bullets, guns, grenades, and disease, such as the deaths, injuries, and sicknesses, and the overall brokenness they had to face in fighting.
O’Brien gives major focus on the death of his closest friend, Kiowa throughout the book. It was a freak incident in that his own platoon killed him by mistake when it camped in a latrine on the banks of the song Tra Bong. It was plain to see why the author held Kiowa closest to his heart: Kiowa shared his sentiments about the cruelty of war. Kiowa was also a very compassionate and intelligent man, but precisely because of the kind of soul he was that O’Brien gave greater coverage of Kiowa’s very costly death than his life. It was a gutting loss he carried with great pain and could never get over with.