“I want you to feel what I felt. I want you to know why story-truth is truer sometimes than happening-truth.” (179) Quotes that the author may be manipulating the text to help bring out the readers true emotions and make them feel like they were in the moment like the soldiers were, written by Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried. The topics of importance in the book would be truth, dehumanization, and death because they are main focuses while reading the book.Tim O’Brien exaggerates the truth to bring out the reader’s deeper emotions. He relates stories of men and women in war getting killed and animals getting slaughtered to help the reader understand what the soldiers have been through. Tim writes how Rat Kiley killed a baby buffalo which didn’t even cry out when being tortured, it just accepted its fate. Rat even looked into the buffalos eyes to make it seem more human. Rat’s emotions were on overload because of this crazy war which caused him to make these heartless decisions which also exaggerated the reader emotions to make them feel what he was feeling in the moment. Sometimes throughout the book O’Brien has to shape the truth to make it seem more real to the reader, even when he is talking to his own daughter he might twist the truth, “”Daddy, tell the truth,” Kathleen can say, “did you ever kill anybody?” And I can say, honestly, “Of course not.” Or I can say, honestly, “Yes.”” (180) Sometime stories do not show the true feeling and what was going through the soldiers minds at the time and that’s why the truth may have to be exaggerated to get the reader’s attention and the author grabs hold of the readers emotions to help them gain a better understanding. Without Tim O’Brien stretching the truth this book would be powerless because readers would not feel what those soldiers were feeling and would not even be thinking like the soldiers were thinking when put in this brutal situation.Dehumanization is a big part of this book because soldiers have to dehumanize people to be able to coupe with these horrid situations when they are seeing people dead everyday. These men and women fighting have to think that the piles and piles of dead bodies are just humps of waste. They have to do this because otherwise they would have all the guilt on their shoulders they wouldn’t be able to live. For example when the group of soldiers found the old man dead in the middle of the town they acted like it was no big deal when “Dave Jenson went over and shook the man’s hand. “How-dee-do” He said… Rat Kiley bent over the corpuse. “Gimme five””.(223) Sometimes just using a different mindset and covering up the truth a little is sometimes better to be able to deal with the tough situation. Dehumanization is shown throughout the whole book, it was even something that the soldiers carried with them. “Norman Bowker… carried a thumb that had been presented to him as a gift by Mitchell…” (13) By Norman carrying this thumb with him everywhere he goes it shows that he doesn’t take death as a big thing because that’s what these soldiers have to do to get through the war.Another major contributor to the story would be death because this was a war and there was death everywhere you looked whether you liked it or not. Each person dealt with death differently but what they all had in common was that they all tried to cover it up to make it not seem so bad so that they could live with themselves. A soldier even said “In a way death was beautiful.” (70) just showing how these men have to live with so much death that they start to look at it different and even believe that it was beautiful when it is really a terrible thing. These soldiers had spoken about death so freely that Norman Bowker said “There was bubbles where Kiowas head should’ve been.” (149) after Kiowa died because that’s what they were use to and had to deal with so much of the death that it just became a regular day to day thing.The Things They Carried tells the war stories of a group of men who fought to protect the freedom of their country and the things that they went through and a couple of the main points touched by the author would be truth, dehumanization, and death. This book is very emotional and the author puts you in the soldiers shoes on purpose to make you feel what they felt.
August 15, 2019 0 Comments