The Things They Carried Essay

Words: 1752
Pages: 8

Nikita Keenan

Throughout Tim O’Brien’s novel, The Things They Carried, the persona of the author often serves as a medium between the translation of emotion felt by characters in the story to the reader of the book. By developing fictitious versions of events that transpired while serving in the Vietnam War, O’Brien’s character is able to revive memories from the past as well as spark feelings of understanding and empathy in others. Surprisingly, the tone of the narrator rarely peals away from being passive and humorous, despite the tragic scenes that unfold within the story. Feelings of sorrow and regret intertwine passages in the novel but are never directly addressed, thus, the author’s character seems to be reserved about
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The punctuation in this bit of text stands out more than others in the book because it seems the author placed each comma to flow into the next and the ending product sounds very natural and sincere. In, The Things They Carried, there were many beautifully crafted sentences found in every passage and each one added a different element or perspective in my mind for the remainder of the book and even afterwards.

Several forms of imagery appear during O’Brien’s book, The Things They Carried, but the one that I feel is most important is that of the character, Mary Anne Bell, who appears in the chapter, Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong. Mary Anne’s story is told by Rat Kiley to some of the men in the platoon. The story goes that when Kiley was stationed at a compound outside of Tra Bong one of his buddies was able to get his girlfriend to come and live at the compound with him. When she first arrived, Mary Anne was very innocent and oblivious to the environment she had just walked into. She was curious to learn and spent the days wandering the compound learning bits of the language and doing small jobs. Eventually she became confident enough to go on night patrols with green berets despite the warnings from her boyfriend. The narrator goes on to say that she left one morning and never came back.