The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien

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This quote is impactful because it reveals not only the physical baggage that the soldiers carry but also the mental burden. They have to live on with what the outcomes of the war are even after it’s over.

“They carried the soldier’s greatest fear, which was the fear of blushing…They died so as not to die of embarrassment.” (O’Brien 20)

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This quote was impactful for me because it shows that men risked their lives to go to war just to save their reputations. They would rather fight in the war because refusing would mean cowardice and men, according to society can’t be that.

“Some carried themselves with a sort of wistful resignation, others with pride or stiff soldierly discipline or good humor or macho zeal. They were afraid of dying but they were even more afraid of showing it” (O’Brien 19)

This quote is impactful because most of these men showed pride during the war to hide their true fears under the mask of humor or enthusiasm. The soldiers could be terrified of being in the war but they still wouldn’t show it because it would show lack of bravery.

O’Brien wrote this to show that they carried much more than guns and equipment, they mostly carried burden in their heads. The outcomes of the war were far worse than they appeared because war changes a person not only physically but psychologically as well. The soldiers were risking not only their lives but their reputations and names as well. Being a coward wasn’t an option, hiding their fears, showing bravery and pride was far more important than showing how they truly felt. Pride, bravery, discipline, good humor, all examples of how they hid those negative feelings they had towards the war. All the weight they carried mentally and emotionally was far worse than it appeared to be on the outside.

“The Man I Killed”

“His jaw was in his throat…there was a slight tear at the lobe of one ear…his forehead was slightly freckled…the skin at his left cheek was peeled back in three ragged strips…there was a butterfly on his chin…” (O’Brien 118)

This quote is impactful for me because it shows how unusual O’Brien’s response was when he took a life. Instead of expressing the guilt, he just stared at the body and grasped every amount of detail he could to prevent himself from thinking about his actions.

“The young man would not have wanted to be a soldier and in his heart would have feared performing badly in battle…He loved mathematics…at school the boys sometimes teased him about how pretty he was…” (O’Brien 121)

This quote is important because it shows how O’Brien deals with the guilt of killing the Vietnamese soldier,

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