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Analysis of The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien - Essay Example

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Name Professor Course Date Analysis of “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien The paper is aimed to analyze one of the themes explored in “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien specifically the concept of blame in the chapter “In the Field.” What then is the purpose of blame?…
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Analysis of The Things They Carried by Tim OBrien
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Analysis of The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien

The story exhibited the manner by which a soldier copes up with guilt. The author explored the concept of blame that soldiers in the battle field experience specifically when another soldier whom they are supporting and sharing their everyday experience would be wounded or killed. The chapter is about the day after the first death in a particular group of soldiers in Vietnam. The death of Kiowa came as a shock that taught the group about different lessons in life, specifically in such a dangerous situation. In the chapter “In the Field” O’Brien wrote: When a man died, there had to be blame. Jimmy Cross understood this. You could blame the war. You could blame the idiots who made the war. You could blame Kiowa for going to it. You could blame the rain. You could blame the river. You could blame the field, the mud, the climate. You could blame the enemy. You could blame the mortar rounds. You could blame people who were too lazy to read a newspaper, who were bored by the daily body counts, who switched channels at the mention of politics. You could blame the munitions makers or Karl Marx or a trick of fate or an old man in Omaha who forgot to vote (169-170). In the end of the chapter, one of the characters, Jim Cross, the leader of the group, contemplated on the concept of blame and the manner by which soldiers in war should overcome the guilt (O’Brien 170). It can be perceived that Jim Cross’ view is that blame can be considered as an unproductive feeling and concept since it cannot change or resolve anything. No matter who or what becomes the target of the blame it cannot change the fact that a negative event had already occurred. In the story blame had been carried by all the soldiers in the group regarding the death of one of them, Kiowa. Everyone has their own view regarding how the death should have been prevented if each one of them had acted differently. This is good in terms of the fact that everyone in the group had proven their sense of responsibility, attachment and dedication to their brothers in the battlefield. There are two characters who specifically exhibited the greatest guilt. One is the soldier who had been the last person who had talked to Kiowa. He blames himself for turning on the light to show the picture of his girlfriend to Kiowa, which revealed the position of the group and triggered the bombing (169). Another is Cross himself who was thinking that his lack of dedication and heart in joining the forces has caused the life of Kiowa because of the fact that he had made a wrong decision of making the group camp out in low land without any form of cover. In addition, he ignored the warnings of people around him (161). The thought of putting the blame to every possible reasons came from Cross. He understood how guilt can affect the performance of soldiers in battle, thus, regardless of how much he wanted to blame himself, he thought of every possible factor he can think of to blame. It is futile and unproductive to put blame on any factor but it is the way of the emotional faculties of the body to cope with the lost of a comrade. Included in the factors that Cross blamed are the war and the people who made war, which can be considered as two of the most pointless factors he had thought about. War cannot be resolved nor eliminated because it can be considered as part of human nature. This is related to the second factor which is the people who ma ... Read More
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