So, the field symbolizes among other things the tragedy of lost innocence, hope, and young lives. Of the soldiers who died or were classified as missing-in-action in the Vietnam War, a few thousand remain unaccounted for today. The memories of the dead and the travesties of war continue to haunt the living.
His collection of stories asks us to help carry the burden of the Vietnam War as part of our collective past. The swampy field symbolizes not just a loss of innocence many American soldiers who fought were only years old but also a loss of hope.
That night when Kiowa got wasted, I sort of sank down into the sewage with him. My life, I mean. Similarly, Jimmy Cross carries compasses and maps and, with them, the responsibility for the men in his charge.
As an added tragedy, their families never recovered their bodies.
After the war, the psychological burdens the men carry during the war continue to define them. The technical facts surrounding any individual event are less important than the overarching, subjective truth of what the war meant to soldiers and how it changed them. Not just in this lousy little town.
Rather, they indicate that the stylistic and thematic content of the story is true to the experience that the soldiers had in the war. This truth is often ugly, in contrast to the ideas of glory and heroism associated with war before Vietnam. Although every member of the Alpha Company experiences fear at some point, showing fear will only reveal vulnerability to both the enemy and sometimes cruel fellow soldiers.
Many soldiers, like Kiowa, died serving their country in a foreign To Bowker, the "stench" of the war as symbolized by the swampy field will never leave him. It follows him everywhere he goes.
He intentionally heightens this impossibility when his characters contradict themselves several times in the collection of stories, rendering the truth of any statement suspect.
While they all carry heavy physical loads, they also all carry heavy emotional loads, composed of grief, terror, love, and longing. Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a literary work.
Faced with the heavy burden of fear, the men also carry the weight of their reputations.
The field where Kiowa died also symbolizes the personal tragedy of millions of young American soldiers who gave their lives for a lost cause. Jimmy Cross, who has gone to war only because his friends have, becomes a confused and uncertain leader who endangers the lives of his soldiers.
Many soldiers, like Kiowa, died serving their country in a foreign land.
Essentially, the war resulted in two tragedies:The The Things They Carried quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Man O'Brien Killed. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:).
Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below.
The symbols in The Things They Carried primarily function to portray various characters' psychological states before and after the war. To unlock this lesson you must be a mi-centre.com Member. “The Things They Carried” Thesis Statement: In “The Things They Carried,” the soldier uses physical objects to calm their secret fears.
This symbolizes emotions, spiritual burdens within the objects that symbolize times, places, and also what they feared. weight. The book opens with descriptions of the physical and emotional baggage that each of the men carries with him through Vietnam; the narrator mentions the specific weight of every item, and how the men decide whether an object is worth its weight in the feeling of safety it provides.
A summary of Themes in Tim O’Brien's The Things They Carried.
Learn exactly what happened in this chapter, scene, or section of The Things They Carried and what it means. Perfect for acing essays, tests, and quizzes, as well as for writing lesson plans. The young man represents all of the faceless Vietnamese dead.
There were hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese dead, and many went unidentified, burned by napalm or buried by the American soldiers:T.Download