O'Brien not only shares the same name as his protagonist but also a similar biographical background. This distinction is key and central to understanding the novel.
The work is simultaneously a war autobiography, writer's memoir, and group of fictional short stories. Subtitled "A Work of Fiction," O'Brien immediately and deliberately blurs the line between fact and fiction by dedicating the novel to individuals that the reader soon discovers are the novel's fictional characters.
To further complicate the genre blending and blurring between fiction and reality, O'Brien creates a protagonist, a Vietnam veteran, named "Tim O'Brien. The originality and innovation of O'Brien's invented form are what make the novel particularly compelling because its main theme — more so than even the Vietnam War — is the act of storytelling.
Storytelling becomes an expression of memory and a catharsis of the past. Many characters in the novel seek resolution of some kind. Readers should note the designations used in this study guide to distinguish between the author, Tim O'Brien, and the fictionalized character, "Tim O'Brien," who is the main character of the novel.
While O'Brien and "O'Brien" share a number of similarities, readers should remember that the work is a novel and not an autobiography of the writer who wrote it. Instead, the novel is presented as the autobiography of the fictional character. The medium becomes part of the novel's message; the unreliable protagonist "Tim O'Brien" continually questions the veracity of the stories he tells and the hearsay he retells, causing, in turn, the readers to question the veracity of the very stories that O'Brien confronts them with.
For example, at one point we believe O'Brien, such as when he describes his fear and shock after killing a Vietnamese soldier, but he then challenges us by casting doubt on the soldier's life and existence.
The act of storytelling becomes more important than the stories told. This quality is a characteristic of many fiction and non-fiction works that comprise the Vietnam War literature genre.
The Vietnam War era was a historical moment marked by confusion and conflict, from the disagreement over the war to the inconsistent and unstructured war of attrition that soldiers were asked to fight. This confusion and conflict is often experienced by individuals in Vietnam War literature as well, a sort of microcosm of the larger macrocosm of disorder and chaos.
This theme of chaos leads to the tone of uncertainty present in The Things They Carried. For example, O'Brien describes how "Tim O'Brien" struggles to decide whether he should avoid military service by fleeing to Canada.
The historical issue of draft-dodging, that is, escaping from the country to avoid the military draft, was a high pressure topic about which many contemporary organizations felt strongly.
O'Brien takes us through both sides of the issue, feeling the fear of a young man facing military service and possibly death to one feeling a patriotic duty toward his country.
Many of O'Brien's stories in The Things They Carried highlight important historical tensions regarding Vietnam and present multiple perspectives, leaving the reader with more questions than answers. One of the important themes O'Brien confronts in the novel is the pressure caused by feeling the need to adhere to some cultural or community standard of duty, courage, or patriotism.
Commonly referred to as "jingoism," this notion is a frequent theme in Vietnam War related fiction, as most soldiers who fought in Vietnam were born and reared just after World War II.
Soldiers in World War II are thought of as having a much less conflicted sense of their place in the war and their duty to their country, although it was by no means without debate. Soldiers in Vietnam, therefore, absorbed the mores and values of their parent's generation — that is, the so-called G.
Many young men who enlisted or were drafted found, once in Vietnam, that what they saw there and what they did there contradicted the message of service they had absorbed as they grew into their political consciousness during the Kennedy administration and the continued expansion of the Cold War.
These feelings of confusion were fueled in large part by social action in the U. Prominent examples of this growing pressure are the Woodstock Music Festival ina gathering of music and people that supported peace and opposed war, and the violent anti-war protests at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in Even at its time, the U.
O'Brien inserts himself and his characters into this discussion, using pressing images such as a young Vietnamese girl dancing in the midst of rubble and corpses, as well as the character of Henry Dobbins who, although an effective soldier, harbors thoughts of joining the clergy.
O'Brien gives his readers the opportunity to take sides on many of these debates, but always reminds readers that their thoughts are products more of themselves than any intrinsic meaning in the stories of war.
O'Brien demonstrates this — the reminder that what we think is a product of our own perceptions and recollections — through his innovative form.
He sets out deliberately to manipulate the audience as they read his work, an act intended to provoke his audience into forming an opinion not about the Vietnam War, but about storytelling or more precisely, story hearing.Throughout the book, The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien, O’Brien explains through his writing many issues in connection to the Vietnam War.
Thus, PTSD is a bad disorder and causes O’Brien and many other soldiers to face emotional, mental, and physical problems. Theme Analysis.
Tim O’Brien’s In the Lake of the Woods is. The Things They Carried Report “The Things They Carried” was a story about soldiers caught in the confusion of the Vietnam War.
There are a lot of apparent themes that are dealt with when writing a story about war, especially about death.
Besides the obvious physical effects of participating in the Vietnam War, most of the films portrayed how exposure to the War left lasting psychological effects in most of the soldiers. Many factors during the Vietnam War combined to affect the soldiers' thoughts, emotions, and minds. Throughout the book, The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien, O’Brien explains through his writing many issues in connection to the Vietnam War. Thus, PTSD is a bad disorder and causes O’Brien and many other soldiers to face emotional, mental, and physical problems. Theme Analysis. Tim O’Brien’s In the Lake of the Woods is. Use this CliffsNotes The Things They Carried Study Guide today to ace your next test! Get free homework help on Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried: book summary, chapter summary and analysis, quotes, essays, and character analysis courtesy of CliffsNotes. In The Things They Carried, protagonist "Tim O'Brien," a writer and .
Men, like Tim O'Brien the author of the novel The Things They Carried, suffered from posttraumatic stress disorder and it took them years to regain their lives after their return home.
In the excerpt from his novel, O'Brien shows the reader how the men endured this mind-altering experience in the jungles of Vietnam through the details of all. The Things They Carried is a powerful meditation on the experiences of foot soldiers in Vietnam and after the war.
The work is simultaneously a war autobiography, writer's memoir, and group of fictional short stories. Subtitled "A Work of Fiction," O'Brien immediately and deliberately blurs the line. Jul 14, · The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien “The Things They Carried” was a story about soldiers caught in the confusion of the Vietnam War.
There are a lot of apparent themes that are dealt with when writing a . - The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien “The Things They Carried” was a story about soldiers caught in the confusion of the Vietnam War. There are a lot of apparent themes that are dealt with when writing a story about war, especially about death.