Character Analysis of the Things they Carried

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Character Analysis of the Things they Carried

This essay will provide a character analysis of Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried.” It will discuss how the characters embody the physical and emotional burdens of the Vietnam War, and the impact of war on their psyches. On PapersOwl, there’s also a selection of free essay templates associated with Analysis.

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The author of “The Things They Carried” is Tim O’Brien. His full name is William Timothy O’Brien who was born in October 1946, in Minnesota, U.S. Tim was an American soldier in the Vietnam War. In many of his novels, he talked about Vietnam War. Tim is also best known for the story he wrote named “The Things They Carried.” This story was Tim’s experience in the Vietnam War. He’s also best known for a blurring of fiction and non-fiction that is purely his own.

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Tim sets the memory and fantasy and the opportunity for mental escape that these powers offer in the novel’s primary themes. Even though all the stories illuminate the author’s flashbacks of the Vietnam War, the author includes female characters that play the central part in the book. Tim O’Brien shares his Vietnam War experience by using objects the soldiers. He uses diversified soldiers to bring the realities of War.

Each of the men had their own emotions to expose. Jimmy Cross, The First Lieutenant, very kind leader of the platoon who carried the photos and letters written by a girl he had left at home. Many other soldiers carried different objects like diary, bible and a hatchet given by their loved ones. Tim placed a batch of substantial items that in truth described an emotional state, emotional moments of the war. He symbolized these massive emotions and divided them to the men of Alpha Company to carry. All of these things make up the substantial of Vietnam War.

Martha is one of the most important female characters, she symbolizes the love and danger. “The Things They Carried” expresses the story of Lieutenant Jimmy Cross, who keeps memories of his friends and family, including Martha, who he met in college. Jimmy Keeps all of her photos and letters and often thinks at night whether Martha goes out with other guys. Jimmy senses that Martha gives him false hope and doesn’t love him as much as he loves her. One day he leaves for an operation, but even there he cannot focus on the action and keeps thinking about his distant love. His friend Lavender gets injured at that time and dies after a while. This event makes Jimmy to reflect on the needless love for Martha and to evaluate the importance of his fanatic thoughts about his love. In this novel, Martha represents desire, as the most important feeling, and danger, since this attitude moves to painful consequences. She reveals a magic love that attacks the brutal reality of war. This problematic dream of Martha, the hopes for a future life with her moved on to the fact that the lieutenant is continually unfocused by thinking about the objects he desires, even at the riskiest moment. With this novel, the author creates an allegation that at the time of the war the soldiers should concentrate on their activities, on what is happening around them and not be distracted by the memories of the past, as this can cost a human to lose his life. The character of Martha indicates a battle between love and danger, fantasy and the brutal reality of life.

Mary Anne Bell is another major character in this novel, and she represents the loss of innocence. In this story, the decision of soldier Mark Fossie to bring his girlfriend to the Vietnam War. Tim defines Mary Anne as an attractive, analytical girl in beautiful clothes. But, with a stay in Vietnam, she turns completely into a real warrior. She studies the regional language, learns how to use a gun, and communicates with other soldiers. This story is an image of the conversion of all warriors in the war, as they come there innocent and unskilled guys and become different, active and diluted men. Tim draws a side by side between how Mary Anne losses her delicacy on her coming in Vietnam, and soldiers lose their incorruptibility in the war. It is also worth observing that Mary Anne is the only female character who precisely contributes to the novel’s actions. So, Mary Bell illustrates the loss of innocence of all soldiers who go through the fears of war.

Another character Linda who appears in the last story and adds up the death and human memory. The tale interprets the writer’s thoughts on his first love. When he was at war, he thinks of his fellow student Linda, with he once went to the cinema. He was in love with Linda but, later he found out that she had severe, illness problems. Linda died, after a while and Tim says he remembers him going to her funeral and her dead body. The author’s feelings of this action as the experience of death in Tim’s life and estimates it in the background that memory is able of giving harsh life to people who were once close to the heart. We discover dead people’s stories through, literature and Linda’s death gives a push to Tim to write novels about the experience of the Vietnam War. Tim, the author, affirms the concept that memory marks a person eternal since it accepts to eternalize his character into different types of art. Tim also says that not all the stories he wrote are about war, but about the awareness of life over the death of other people. For this reason, Linda indicates death, perpetual life and the action of memory in art.

In conclusion, the story “The Things They Carried” is a documentary collection of novels by Tim O’Brien about the experience of his life in Vietnam War. Even though, the main characters of the books are soldiers of the war, and Linda-death and afterlife. Female character pointed great life values and filled the story with different emotions.

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Character Analysis of The Things They Carried. (2019, Jan 14). Retrieved from