Political Science College Essay

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1. Explore the meaning of the title The Things They Carried. Think about the metaphor of weight and carrying and how this theme (and the carried things) resurface throughout the book. You should consider the characters and their personalities as you look at the things carried: literally, personally and metaphorically.


The 'things' which he mentions in the title include the physical objects which the soldiers carried with them, and the emotional thoughts and pressures which they had to carry in their minds. These physical and emotional loads were symbolic of and filled with fear, love, grief and their longings. O'Brien specifies the physical loads which all the soldiers carried with them. Many of them were things of common use in the war, while apart from these soldiers also carried things of personal value to them.
Soldiers basically carried with them an assault rifle, which is usually carried by soldiers of low rank. Some of them also had grenade launchers, multi-purpose two-pound poncho and even magazines of ammunition. Some included mosquito repellents, chewing gums, marijuana and pocket knives. Their priorities could be seen from the things they possessed. These loads were taken along because it would be of physical help to them in the war. There were other things which gave them psychological support, which made them emotionally strong in facing the war. These things were of great value to them. Lt. Jimmy Cross, carried with him reminders of Martha, his love. Cross has the letters which she sent to him. He occasionally took them out and read, hoping that she would be his sometime in future. He also keeps in his mouth a good-luck pebble, which was given by her. ...
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