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The Things They Carried

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The Things they Carried is so incredibly realistic that it could easily be misconstrued for nonfiction. The character's motives and attitudes only further conceal the fact that it is a story. It is the author's job to make a story come to life and be believable, and Tim O'Brien does a phenomenal job. In most works of wartime fiction, characters are valorous and die with courage and acceptance. In reality and this story, however, they aren't heroes. They aren't villains either. The characters in this story are just men trying to make it out of Vietnam alive. Despite these realistic character traits and setting of the story however, it is a story nonetheless.

The characters are so vividly developed by the things that they carry that we lose sight of the fact that they aren't real. They are portrayed in a light that is so realistic and believable that we want to believe that they are and that therefore it isn't a story, but factual history. This, however, is not the case. We must keep in mind that these characters, though well developed, are still made up people that do not exist. While it gives us a good insight to the realities of war and we may even share a bond with a character and the reasoning behind their actions, these events never actually unfolded and it is all made up by the author to get a point across.

The idea behind the story is to bring to light the burdens of war and dispel the illusion that it is a wonderful thing full of glory. This story serves just that purpose and is narrated in a way that constantly reminds us of that.

The characters of the story The Things they Carried are constantly burdened by the things they are forced to "hump" around. By drawing attention to how burdensome their lives in Vietnam were, Tim O'Brien draws attention to the fact that they are there and carry the weight of everything on their backs and war isn't glorious, it's just people humping things around thinking of leaving that place. In many wartime movies no attention is called to the things like that and therefore aren't considered by the normal person. There is an illusion that war is glorious when in fact it is quite the opposite.

They all carried things that kept them going or made them feel in control of at least something in the hard times that they had to deal with. This goes to show that they didn't see what they were doing as glorious, only as something that they were required to do given their professions. The story is riddles with reminders that people don't always act on morals and glory. Sometimes they just do what they have to do because it's what they have to do.

This is even more elaborately portrayed in the way that Ted Lavender died. He was described as a scared person and therefore always carried ounces upon ounces of dope as well as tranquilizers to keep him stable. In the end though,

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