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The Things They Carried

The Things They Carried “They carried all they could bear, and then some, including a silent awe for the terrible power of the things they carried.” The men in this story were subjected to things that changed their lives drastically. And the “things they carried” were some of the heaviest things they will have ever carried in their lives. Ammunition and supplies weighted these men down although it was their emotions and feelings that felt the heaviest. “The Things They Carried”, by Tim O’Brien, is a story that reveals the true nature of war. The ammunition and supplies that these men carried were true tests of muscular strength.

“M-16 assault rifles, M-60 machine guns, M-79 grenade launchers”, along with “pocket knives, mosquito repellant, chewing gum, cigarettes and matches” filled their packs. They carried these packs with them everywhere that they went; up hills, down hills, through trenches, across fields, and through swamps. These soldiers went through massive amounts of emotional struggle. One man who regularly received letters from a girl and he uses her as a vent for his emotions. “More than anything, he wanted Martha to love him as he loved her, but the letters were mostly chatty, elusive on matter of love.” “He would sometimes taste the envelopes flaps, knowing her tongue had been there.” Their emotions were heavy, very heavy.

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The men were always thinking about something, sometimes there was not much else to do. They thought about the war, girls, home, family and being lonely. This war “carried the soldier’s greatest fear, which was the fear of blushing. Men killed, and died, because they were embarrassed not to.” The soldier’s had to learn how to carry their packs as well as their heavy minds. Everything was a struggle for them, both physically and mentally.

” They carried all they could bear, and then some, including a silent awe for the terrible power of the things they carried.” In conclusion, “The Things They Carried” was a powerful story of war. The men that were involved in this war, as well as many other wars, were subjected to many horrible situations. So this story truly reveals the nature of war. American History.


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