The Things They Carried Essay

1006 Words Mar 15th, 2007 5 Pages
The text, ‘The Things They Carried', is an excellent example which reveals how individuals are changed for the worse through their first hand experience of war. Following the lives of the men both during and after the war in a series of short stories, the impact of the war is accurately portrayed, and provides a rare insight into the guilt stricken minds of soldiers. ‘The Things They Carried' shows the impact of the war in its many forms: the suicide of an ex-soldier upon his return home; the lessening sanity of a medic as the constant death surrounds him; the trauma and guilt of all the soldiers after seeing their friends die, and feeling as if they could have saved them; and the deaths of the soldiers, the most negative impact a war …show more content…
And when daydreams of death became reality, coping became even harder.

The effects of the war didn't suddenly disappear upon the return home, as Norman Bowker's suicide 3 or 4 years after his return to America proved. The trauma that soldiers had suffered in watching their close friends die, and guilt, feeling as if they could have done something to prevent the deaths of their friends. Often as a result of the human imagination they forget the true circumstances and remember only their own failure to act, which resulted in the death of a comrade and often of a close friend. The men in ‘The Things They Carried' say they can never forgive themselves for the death of another, they feel as if it will ‘… never go away…' even though the death may not have been a direct result of their actions. Merely witnessing a death, which was a common occurrence in Vietnam, is enough to haunt any individual, especially a young male individual who has had little understanding and experience of death. And killing another individual, whether or not he was the enemy, was more than enough to traumatise a young man, especially when there was so much free time to contemplate the results of taking another human life. The guilt that is felt post war as a result of helplessly watching a close friend murdered can be

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