But the male bonding is not simply as a band of warriors but also, under the shock and pain of the war, as a family, caring, nurturing, even doing domestic chores, but a family without women. This experience makes soldiers unsympathetic to others and even senseless. "Boom. Down. Nothing else. It was a bright morning in mid-April. Lieutenant Cross felt the pain" (O'Brien). This quote illustrates that soldiers are unable to perceive reality objectively and respond to changes is a flash.
For O'Brien war is a blind and deaf creature. Enormous burden causes soldiers to be blind and senseless. To illustrate his point of view, O'Brien goes far beyond a simplistic description given a weight of each thing they carry: One of the chief features of the story is what it reveals about the roles young men played during the war and how their fears confront with the need to locate a source of consolation for the bereaved. "Grief, terror, love, longing these were intangibles, but the intangibles had their own mass and specific gravity, they had tangible weight." (O'Brien). From the very beginning, apart from this romantic conception of the maternal figure living in isolation from the savagery of the war,
The battlefield is the main "force" which influences understanding of war. This stage of transformations begins on the battlefield, but may continue long after the war has ended and the soldiers have returned home. The theme of indifference is expressed through the idea of fighting and life struggle. The soldiers do not question their purpose of fighting to preserve peace at home. The soldiers in particular approach the war with loyalty, teamwork, and missionary zeal. They are not changed by their experiences and have not moved beyond innocence into a serious consideration of their experiences. Stillness and silence heat the atmosphere of fear and terror: "The morning was hot and very still. Not good, Kiowa said. He looked at the tunnel opening, then out across a dry paddy toward the village of Than Khe. Nothing moved. No clouds or birds or people" (O'Brien). Metaphorically, It is impossible to listen to or hear in this situation. The soldiers can hear and lectern to orders, but they cannot understand and respond to inner feelings overwhelmed by fear and dread.
"Nobody listens. Nobody hears nothing" because soldiers are subjected to emotions and personal feelings unable to analyze the events around them. O'Brien sets a typical war environment, moral questions, internal conflicts, and characters' physical, spiritual, and psychological journey parallel elements found in war narratives. The Things They Carried deals with conflicts between moral freedom and restraint, chaos and control, idealism and reality, truth and lies, technology and war culture. A soldier's pursuit of order and control in his life and in his environment becomes one of the most common responses to this war initiation and heroism. And in the aftermath stage it becomes a prominent coping mechanism in the adjustment to life away from the battlefield. It is also a behavior closely tied to a soldier's prewar life in a modern world often described as bereft of traditions, normative values, and religious or secular mediating structures. Many, however, grapple with this darkness and in the process are fascinated, repulsed,