Essay about Analysis of Important Quotes in "The Things They Carried"

1194 Words Nov 18th, 2010 5 Pages
1. “In any war story, especially a true one, it’s difficult to separate what happened from what seemed to happen. What seems to happen becomes its own happening and has to be told the way. “ (71)

Significance: This quote describes the entire style in which the book is written. Tim O’ Brien writes the novel as though it is a memoir, but this isn’t the case. In the copyright information, readers learn that most of the events, with a few small exceptions, were fabricated. Once the reader knows this fact, there is bound to be a curiosity of which portions of the book are actually based on O’ Brien’s life. This quote looks at the “fictional” Tim O’Brien’s view of war stories. He says that memory doesn’t always serve a person well when
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He simply wasn’t able to deal with all the horrors he’d experienced. While this two stories stand out, throughout the course of the novel, there’s a definite change in many of the other characters, showing this time in Vietnam has in fact influenced them. Rat himself was so influenced by what he’d seen that he eventually snapped and shot his own foot in order to get sent out of the lines of fire. This quote also alludes to the constant threat of death. “Others don’t make it at all” could be considered a comment made for Kiowa or Lavender, both members of the platoons who were killed in battle. Clearly, they didn’t make it at all.

3. “When a man died, there had to be blame.” (177)

Significance: The idea of death is a major theme found throughout this novel. In such a dangerous war situation, there’s no way of knowing when your life could be over. This quote reflects a major way in which the men cope with this fact. Whenever something happens, they need to find blame in someone or something. While the blame isn’t always placed on a person, there are many times in the novel in which this is the case. As the leader of the platoon, Jimmy Cross feels major guilt at any death of his men, as he feels he is responsible for the lives of these men. When Kiowa dies, Cross feels as though he could have done more to save the young soldiers life. He feels as though he didn’t think

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