A plot summary of the book the things they carried

Death in the things they carried

Copy to Clipboard. The song alludes to the "Stockings" chapter from the book and references Henry Dobbins and his girlfriend's stockings, which he ties around his neck to keep him from harm. Only emotional truth, or "story-truth," can, and O'Brien uses it liberally. O'Brien says he must write stories because that's all that's left when memory is gone. Norman Bowker and Henry Dobbins play checkers every night. His memories continue to haunt Norman at home as he realizes that the world has moved on from the war, and wants nothing to do with the "hell" in Vietnam. Green and terrified, he is slow to aid O'Brien when he is shot in the behind; nearly killing O'Brien after failing to treat him for shock. O'Brien presents to his readers both a war memoir and a writer's autobiography, and complicates this presentation by creating a fictional protagonist who shares his name. But he wanted to provoke the same feelings in the reader that he felt on the trail. He reflects on the medals he won in Vietnam, and imagines telling his father about both these and the medals he did not win. No one questions his bravery. He says that his story about killing a man on the trail outside My Khe was false; he merely saw the man die. Dobbins tells Kiowa he might become a monk after the war, but confesses he could never be a minister because he can't answer the hard questions about life and death.

The English Journal. Strunk dies in the chopper, and Jensen appears relieved. He is continually haunted by the fact that he could not save Kiowa from sinking under the "shitfield" on a rainy night.

the things they carried summary chapter 1

Lee Strunk, another member of the company, dies from injuries he sustains by stepping on a landmine. Azar A young, rather unstable soldier who engages in needless and frequent acts of brutality; in one story, he blows up an orphan puppy that Ted Lavender had adopted by strapping it to a Claymore minethen detonating it.

Martha in the things they carried

Reception[ edit ] The Things They Carried has received critical acclaim and has been established as one of the preeminent pieces of Vietnam War literature. Yet, the entire collection functions as a self-contained work because it is so loyal to its themes and characters. Jimmy Cross The platoon leader. Later that night, however, he complains of a phantom tooth ache so severe a tooth is pulled - even though it's perfectly healthy. He is obsessed with a young woman back home, Martha who does not return his feelings. At first regularly antagonized by one another, the two are drawn toward respect and friendship by the stress and horrors of warfare. Henry Dobbins picks up Azar and holds him over a well, threatening to drop him if he won't stop and "dance right. We learn that the soldiers carry lots of things, from guns to fear to expectations. Later, when the soldiers have left the village, Azar dances like the girl in a mocking way. They make a pact and sign it that reads one is obligated to kill the other if one is harmed so badly in battle that they would be wheelchair bound. At one point, Azar breaks down emotionally, revealing that his cruelty is merely a defense mechanism.

Curt Lemon A young man that frequently attempts to assume the role as a tough soldier. Just when we thought we were following along… In the last third of the book, we start to get into stories a lot more.

the things they carried reflection

He reflects on the medals he won in Vietnam, and imagines telling his father about both these and the medals he did not win. Bowker has convinced himself he would have won the Silver Star if he had pulled Kiowa out, and that Kiowa would still be alive. He has a breakdown from the pressure of being a medic, and shoots himself in the toe in order to get released from combat.

The things they carried symbols

Yet, the entire collection functions as a self-contained work because it is so loyal to its themes and characters. When O'Brien tells the story of Lemon's death, usually an older woman will say it's too sad, and O'Brien resolves he has to keep telling the stories and adding to them to make them truer. They scare Jorgenson by pretending to be enemy soldiers, but the soldier proves that he is not a coward, so O'Brien lets go of his resentment. Dobbins tells Kiowa he might become a monk after the war, but confesses he could never be a minister because he can't answer the hard questions about life and death. A man who, despite having a rather large frame, is gentle and kind. Bowker drives repeatedly around a lake in his hometown, reminiscing about the night Kiowa died. The two monks like the soldiers, but they particularly love Henry Dobbins. The men discuss their relationships with churches, and for the most part, appreciate the interaction with other people and the peace of the building. Later that month, Strunk gets most of his right leg blown off in combat.

Anything can be faked Finally, "O'Brien" remembers a girl from his childhood who died from cancer, the first dead body he saw before being in-country. Mitchell Sanders sends his body lice to his hometown draft board.

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The Things They Carried Summary