Book Review: Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried”

The wartime setting in “The Things They Carried,” by Tim O’Brien supports the characters tragic journey, rucksack and vision of death.  Each item they carried was given “weight,” inclusive of magazines, foods, artillery, photos etc. The story takes place in the trench, real ones or perhaps fantasy trenches.  As if the weight of every item pulled them so many pounds further into their grave.  They lived with a vision of what they required to live and what they required for “last wish.” They lived a dream/death state of mind.  It was perhaps the “dream state” the “foxholes” conjured, where photos and fantasy life were made profound.  They speak knowledgeably of death, of “twitching and flopping.” (O’Brien 1072) The characters are emotionalized and supported by the setting.

Obrien, Tim, “The Things They Carried,” Richard Abercarian, Marvin Klotz and Samuel Cohen, eds. Literature:  The Human Experience:  Reading and Writing.  New York:  Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2016, Print. pp. 1070-1083

Richard Abercarian, Marvin Klotz and Samuel Cohen, eds. Literature:  The Human Experience:  Reading and Writing.  New York:  Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2016, Print

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