Things They Carried Shame

Words: 578
Pages: 3

In The Things They Carried, a novel written by Tim O’Brien, the reader is introduced to the everlasting psychological effects of war through his recollection of his own experiences. He incorporates fiction into his story and into the perspectives of other characters whom all faced their own tragedies. Tim O’Brien’s purpose in writing The Things They Carried is to explore the impact of shame on the youth who were forced to join the war.
To commence, O’Brien displays the emotional baggage these men carried while the troops waited for a helicopter to carry the deceased body of Ted Lavender away. He writes that “men killed, and died, because they were embarrassed not to. It was what had brought them to the war in the first place, nothing positive,
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His rage turned to self pity; searching for a plan to flee as he “couldn't make up [his own] mind. [He] feared the war [and he] also feared exile.” He was “afraid of walking away from [his] own life.” ( O’Brien 42). This passage reveals that in giving in to cowardice, you would then be labeled as one. The intangible weight these men carried was the fear of ridicule from the people who shaped their childhood, only to lose their respect for refusing to die. Lastly, the author includes another example derived from a man who he killed in the novel. That particular death recurrent in his mind. He begins to write the story behind the young man and why he was involved in the war; he writes that “beyond anything else, he was afraid of disgracing himself, and therefore his family and village” ( O’Brien 121). The essence of O’Brien’s arguments show that for people like this man, had to justify their worth and strength through fulfilling what they were expected to do. Defying these expectations and facing the consequences was what they desired to avoid.
The focus of the literary work, The Things They Carried, is to demonstrate what the calamitous fear of shame and mockery had done corresponding to the soldiers who did not favor combat, but had endured it to maintain their reputation. To conclude, Tim O’Brien had written this war story utilizing his own suffering to address