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Summary Of Tim O Brien's The Things They Carried

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In Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried,” the title is directly related to the structure. Most of the structure making up this story revolves around the items carried by the soldiers. These items include material goods as well as spiritual baggage. Some of the physical items also represent their emotional state as soldiers. The recurring pattern of describing the physical and mental baggage serves to paint an accurate picture of the soldiers and their tragic situation. All of the men carry weapons. The weapons are heavy in many ways. They are heavy in a physical manner, putting strain on their arms and backs as they hump it through the wilderness. They are also heavy on the mind, for a soldier’s gun is a part of him. It is the tool of his trade. A rifle possesses an inherent deadliness, and each man knows he has the capability to end the life of another. Sometimes, this mental burden is heavier than the weapon itself. Such is the life of a soldier. …show more content…
Kiowa carries “ his New Testament and a pair of moccasins for silence” (117) This says a lot about his reliance on religion and his experience with sneaking. Rat Kiley, the medic, carries “brandy and M&M’s.” (118) It is implied that he will use these things when a soldier is mortally wounded. Providing comfort to a man on death’s door seems to give Kiley a sense of accomplishment. Henry Dobbins carries “his girlfriend’s pantyhose wrapped around his neck.” (118) This shows his love for his lady. The items the soldier’s use to comfort themselves seem small, but they are gigantic in significance. These comforters may be the only things these soldiers have to look forward to. They are the only nice thing to find in a world filled with pain and

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