❰Reading❯ ➿ The Things They Carried Author Tim O'Brien – Horse-zine.co.uk

The Things They Carried explained The Things They Carried, review The Things They Carried, trailer The Things They Carried, box office The Things They Carried, analysis The Things They Carried, The Things They Carried d6df In , Tim O Brien S Going After Cacciato A Novel About The Vietnam War Won The National Book Award In This, His Second Work Of Fiction About Vietnam, O Brien S Unique Artistic Vision Is Again Clearly Demonstrated Neither A Novel Nor A Short Story Collection, It Is An Arc Of Fictional Episodes, Taking Place In The Childhoods Of Its Characters, In The Jungles Of Vietnam And Back Home In America Two Decades Later

  • The Things They Carried
  • Tim O'Brien
  • 09 July 2017
  • 9780002236034

About the Author: Tim O'Brien

Tim O Brien matriculated at Macalester College Graduation in 1968 found him with a BA in political science and a draft notice.O Brien was against the war but reported for service and was sent to Vietnam with what has been called the unlucky Americal division due to its involvement in the My Lai massacre in 1968, an event which figures prominently in In the Lake of the Woods He was assigned to

10 thoughts on “The Things They Carried

  1. says:

    It was in the spring of 2006 and I was on patrol in Kirkuk Iraq with a unit in the 101st Airborne I had my full battle rattle on helmet, body armor, vest with extra magazines, M4 We were in the Kurdish part of the city and it was a beautiful day in the bazaar I came to love the Kurdish people, they were hardworking and resilient Many people don t know this but a percentage of Kurdish folks are red headed No kidding, fair skin like me and RED hair It was the kind of day where in the back of our mind we were maybe vigilant than necessary because the threat of anything bad seemed so far away so therefore we needed to be on the guard But for the most part, it was a quiet day and people were out shopping and enjoying the day.I was on the sidewalk and looking at the goods on display Huge bags of nuts and seeds, fabric, plastic toys, a little bit of everything A mother was walking with her little boy, he looked about 2 or 3, with a cute brown outfit that was tailored to fit him, perhaps homemade I noticed her looking at some goods and he saw something across the street and like little boys the world over, took off past me and headed into the street.I am a father of three boys and at that time they were 16, 13 and 6 and I thought about them everyday if not hourly My wife and I had been chasing healthy and happy, mischievous boys for years and if I was hyper vigilant for bad guys, I was even sensitive to children getting loose.As natural as if I were on the sidewalk in Middle Tennessee, I reached down and caught him, said something incomprehensible to him like whoa little man, don t loose momma and I smiled at his mother and she smiled at me and then in that moment, I was not an armed soldier occupying her city and we spoke the same language and we were neighbors keeping a little boy out of the street.That was ten years ago and so much happened over there, but I will always remember that moment because it was an instance of unconditional and timeless humanity during wartime The reality was and is that labels like soldier and enemy and foreign national do little to assuage the inherent and complicated humanity that we all bring with us and share between us.What Tim O Brien accomplished in The Things They Carried, his 1990 collection of short stories and essays about his experiences in Vietnam two decades earlier, is to demonstrate that even in the middle of a horrific war experience, that the soldiers and residents of that country were fundamentally and undeniably all human and capable of experiencing the wide scope of human emotion amidst wartime, and further that the very lethal nature of war made the emotions vivid and alive.Whereas all of my brothers in arms and I volunteered, O Brien and his fellow soldiers were mainly drafted and were thus accidental warriors because of conscription Here were young men who did not want to be there, for the most part, but O Brien takes an expansionist and objective stance and reveals that some people did find their place there and learned things about themselves they would not have otherwise discovered but for that martial experience.Poignant, touching, endearing, heartbreaking, terrifying, saddening, maddening, O Brien has succinctly stated what so many have before tried to and failed He has formed a voice from this wilderness of human experience and has documented for us all a glimpse into moments of humanity during wartime.

  2. says:

    I first bought The Things They Carried at the Bruised Apple, a used bookstore and coffee shop in downtown Peekskill, New York, back in 1991 when I was fifteen years old By the time I graduated from high school a few years later I d read it so often that the pages, already brittle, were nearly worn through, entire sections underlined in pencil Loaned out and lost to a college crush years ago, a dear friend bought me a replacement copy awhile back signed to me by Tim O Brien himself This new copy is not quite as loveworn, but still it is cherished.The beauty of this book lies not necessarily in the war stories at its center, but rather in the undulating, overlapping entanglements that are people s lives, in the act of using storytelling as a means of recapturing our histories, bringing the many facets of our so often fragmented selves forward into the present day The lyrical poetry of O Brien s writing combined with the brutality of Vietnam imagery is truly a shock, traumatizing yet powerfully beautiful in its way, and the force of language itself is a revelation.As O Brien writes, The thing about a story is that you dream it as you tell it, hoping that others might then dream along with you, and in this way memory and imagination and language combine to make spirits in the head.

  3. says:

    These connected stories are about young men in their late teens and early twenties doing their best to carry the weight of a brutal war on their shoulders, along with dozens of pounds of field kit and weaponry They carry so much weight it is hard to even imagine how they could walk the miles they did, crossing rivers, muddy streams, up hills and down into valleys, somehow placing one foot in front of the other while their eyes and ears scan for danger.The equipment is not all they carry Some carry guilt, some carry cowardice, some carry aggression, some carry courage, some carry fear, some carry righteousness, some carry hatred, and some carry doubt Of all the feelings they carry, the weight of futility has to be the hardest to bear Maybe futility isn t the right word They carry with them the knowledge that where they are and what they are doing is all the choice they have Short of doing damage to themselves to be airlifted out of there, they all carry the weight of being stuck.These stories don t stop with the horror and macabre humour of being part of a platoon of young men in war There is also a story about what one of them experienced after the war His need to talk about it and his inability to do so His recognition that he needs purposeful work versus his doubt that any such thing exists any .Tim O Brien s writing is exceptional With one sentence he can cut to the heart of an event Occasionally he uses repetition of a scene or sequence that made me feel I was there, living it, then re living the shock of it, trying to find the sense in it.This book does not go into the politics of war and does not mention the hawks sitting behind huge desks with lovely scenery outside their windows, busy directing traffic regardless of what the cost in human lives may be So, I won t go into it, either.This book is about being in the thick of the traffic driving blind in a night so dark there is no difference between eyes open and eyes closed It is about not knowing if you have enough gas, if a tire will blow, if the vehicle will overheat, if it will be blown up into the trees or bogged down and sunk in a field of sewage It is about being one of many little vehicles with two legs and heavy burdens to carry and not knowing if you will ever see home again This was a Traveling Sisters Group read with Brenda, Diane, JanB, Marialyce, and Nikki This was a great choice for a Group read and discussion and I enjoyed it a lot For reviews of this book as well as many others, visit the Sisters blog at

  4. says:

    The Things They Carried reads like a confession, which, I suppose, in many ways it is War is a theme in so many books, be they historical fiction, memoirs, alternate histories and I ve certainly read my fair share of them But stretching my mind back over the years right now, I struggle to recall one that has affected me quite so much Perhaps I would put it on equal footing with Drakulic s S a heartbreakng novel about the treatment of women in the female war camps during the Bosnian war But the main difference between the two is that this one is autobiographical However, unlike a lot of non fiction I ve read, it is also written beautifully, lyrically and powerfully Telling the horrors, the friendship, the fear and the shame of the Vietnam war with brutal honesty This is one read that I may never have found without the 1001 book list and it is one I believe fully deserves its place on the list.The book is split into what some may call short stories but are really all episodes of the same story A sad story that encompasses the many different aspects of soldier life during the Vietnam war But it s also about the befores and the afters How did a young, blood quesy liberal, who had taken a stand against the war while at university become a soldier who carried out brutal orders and killed without thinking There is an awfully bleak sadness to this tale that lingers in the very existence of the novel the fact that O Brien still finds himself writing war stories long after the war is over That there are memories and confessions tied up inside him, begging to be told Despite the stunning prose and vivid re imagining of these stories, reading The Things They Carried is a little bit like watching someone break down The author talks at one point how embarrassing confessions are for the people who have to hear them and yet he admits his stories must be told, anyway.But this also isn t a difficult book You might expect it to take some effort but O Brien knows exactly what he s doing as a writer It s easy to get caught up in the frightening world he is sharing and realise you ve read half the book when you only sat down to read a chapter The stories seemed to fly by in an array of horrifying colour, I was utterly mesmerised from start to finish And I want to stress something about that this is not a gratuitous torturefest Which is perhaps why this story feels so real and powerful If O Brien merely wanted to inflict upon us a book that was like a car crash, he could have painted gory pictures of disemboweled soldiers but the real battle for O Brien has always been a psychological one And the things they really carried weren t the ammunition, the pictures and letters from loved ones, or lucky talismans, it was the fear, the guilt and the tremendous loss of innocence.When it comes to the Vietnam war, things like blame and pity and accusation are thrown all over the place in a million pointing fingers One minute it s the evil Vietcong setting booby traps to slice up teenage American boys, the next it s evil American soldiers massacring villages and pouring napalm on screaming children This book is about neither of those O Brien sees both US soldiers and Vietcong as young men thrown into something they didn t understand, both victims of a war that was out of control If anyone gets the blame, it s the highers ups, the politicians and state leaders, people who sit in an office and order teen boys to go out to fight and die The citizens who shake their heads at the cowardice of a young man who refuses to fight for his country, even when they have no idea why he s fighting A surprisingly powerful book that will stay with me for a long time.

  5. says:

    Awestruck may be the best way to describe how I felt upon reading this book the first time So how did I feel upon reading it the second time I just want to bow at Tim O Brien s feet while muttering a Wayne s World style I m not worthy, I m not worthy Using non linear narrative and stringing together seemingly unrelated stories into one ultimately cohesive work, O Brien achieves something that traditional narrative never could his work reflects the emotional truth of what it was like to be a soldier in Vietnam and to be a veteran still living with memories that, when triggered, seem as real and visceral as if they were happening in the present This is memoir, metafiction, magical realism, and a whole grab bag of other literary genres rolled into one O Brien himself admits that we as readers may not know which of the stories are happening truth what objectively happened and which of the stories are story truth stories that may not have happened but because they strike the right emotional chord are valid than what really happened However, the reader should not feel manipulated by this storytelling technique as it seeks to forge a connection between those who were there and those who were not it does not seek to tell what happened, but to make you feel what it was like to be there The book is nothing short of a masterpiece Cross posted at This Insignificant Cinder

  6. says:

    It d be a bad idea to challenge Tim O Brien to a round of Truth Or Dare because he d find a way to pick Truth, launch into a story, recant it, then make you think he really chose Dare, but in the end, you ll be pretty sure he actually told you the Truth after all Maybe That s kind of the point about this account of his time Vietnam as an infantry soldier that warns us that war stories are tricky The ones that sound true are probably lies and the ones that seem outlandish probably have a healthy dose of truth in them By telling us some fact and some fiction, then revealing which is which Allegedly , O Brien shows that sometimes a well told lie based on fact has power than a real story accurately told Taken together, O Brien s stories make it clear that he spent the decades after the war mulling over the various things he took away from it This isn t the memoir of a guy who obtained some kind of closure by writing it, it s the story of the fear, doubt and confusion he still wrestled with decades later In order to convey that experience, he had to tell the reader some war stories and let us decide just how true they were.

  7. says:

    I ve read reviews of this seen this book pass me by at the library, but for some reason was always reluctant to read Why Maybe just hits a little to close to home, knew many of my friends brothers who served, some lived, some of course did not My own husband was in the Air Force at this time, not sent to Vietnam, and not yet my husband, still just a friend He did though unload the bodies of returning soldiers who did not make it through their service It was thankfully near the end of the war.Years have passed, and the Sisters group decided to read and discuss this, so I decided now was the time, it was now or never We had a great discussion, for some reason I was under the misapprehension that this was non fiction It is not though it is written as if it was, which caused a bit of confusion as to how we perceived what we were reading Was what we were reading true or not In fact the author discussed this in one of the stories, if it is not true but could have been true how does that change how one feels about the book That did bother me a bit.In the end I decided it didn t really matter because these stories in all their grimness, terrible situations, and yes occasionally humor, were an unfortunate and very unfair set of circumstances that these extremely young men found themselves shouldering It made their experiences personal, gave these soldiers names, and detailed all the guilt they felt when they survived, or made a wrong decision that cost lives A beyond terrible situation for me in their late teens or early twenties to have to handle All wars are terrible but the way these soldiers were treated when they returned was surely criminal At least as a nation, if we have learned nothing else, we have learned to treat our returning soldiers with the respect they deserve, and as the heroes they surely are.

  8. says:

    See But wait way down below and sometimes I can see Timmy skating with Linda under the yellow floodlights I m young and happy I ll never die I m skimming across the surface of my own history, moving fast, riding the melt beneath the blades, doing loops and spins, and when I take a high leap into the dark and come down thirty years later, I realize it is as Tim trying to save Timmy s life with a story.That s the last 71 words of Tim O Brien s The Things They Carried Timmy is Tim O Brien or maybe Tim O Brien , or maybe both or neither Linda is a girl who he was in love with when he was nine years old maybe, unless she s made up But even if so, the story, the last one in the book, could be true Linda died of cancer a few months after Timmy fell in love with her How much of this story is true Does it matter Read on.I bet a ton of papers and reports have been written for high school and college English courses on this book It s so different from anything I ve read before I was not able to underline in the book as I read, because I read my daughter s copy of the book She probably read it in college She read it in college That s my story Whether it s true I don t know, but it should be.So, since I couldn t underline, I have nothing to base an analysis of the book on So that s a story I don t have to write.Asides, almostO Brien has become not only the premier writer on the American Vietnam experience, he has become something of a meta writer on the concept of truth in fiction The fact that this book has that stuff in it is why, against all my habits, after starting to read the book last night after dinner, I finished it before going to bed at 4 30 am There are only two other writers who generally lift me away from all other books I am reading and won t let me back to them until they put me down George Pelecanos and Patrick O Brian hmm O Brian, O Brien.In case you don t know, this is not a novel It s a collection of short stories It s novel like because most of the stories take place in Vietnam, within a platoon of men fighting there in the late 60s, and the same characters slide from one story to the next But the stories aren t in any particular time order, though the later stories in the book generally happen later than the earlier ones And some of the stories are less connected to the others.Who is Tim O Brien There are really two Tim O Briens here, a character and a writer, and they aren t the same.I didn t realize for a long time that the book s narrator, Tim O Brien , who is telling these stories is a fictional character He shares a lot of unlikely details with Tim O Brien the writer, who wrote the stories But they aren t the same Or at least we can t be sure where they are the same, and where they re distinct Actually, Tim O Brien sometimes talks about writing some of the stories but maybe that s the other Tim O Brien, the writer You do understand where all those English assignments come from, don t you Both the Tim O Briens grew up in Worthington Minnesota They both graduated from Macalester College in 1968 They both got drafted soon after college, they both served in Vietnam in 1969 70, they both were involved in combat for about a year They both came home and became writers But, did I mention that they aren t the same Get your hands around that.How O Brien dances with the truth.This ambiguity about the O Briens is part of a larger ambiguity that O Brien let s just use the same name for both of them from now on writes talks about throughout the novel an ambiguity about what is true and what isn t There s even a story in the book about this How to Tell a True War Story O Brien says that if someone tells you a war story, You d feel cheated if it never happened Yet even if it did happen and maybe it did, anything s possible even then you know it can t be true, because a true war story does not depend upon that kind of truth Absolute occurrence is irrelevant A thing may happen and be a total lie another thing may not happen and be truer than the truth What he s implying is that a story about something that never happened can affect the listener, can impart to him a truth about an overall situation, reality , that is not imparted by a mere recounting of what actually happened O Brien is reported as once answering the question Can someone who s been in war teach us anything about war , by saying No All he can do is tell us stories about war Fiction and reality can blur and in war they can t not blur.The two stories that nailed Tim O Brien.There are two stories in the book which wend their way through multiple other stories, and ultimately illustrate the ambiguous nature of O Brien s reality The first one is the story of a Vietnamese he killed Or at least he may have killed The main description is in The Man I Killed Other stories that deal with it in depth are Ambush and finally Good Form But the episode is also mentioned in several other stores.The second of these extended, and very ambiguous, tales is a story about the death of his closest friend in the platoon See Speaking of Courage, Notes, In the Field, and finally Field Trip These four stories could be analyzed from now to next Christmas without coming to a certain conclusion as to what actually happened, and what the two Tim O Briens had to do with any of it.The two stories that nailed me 2 Sweetheart of the Song Tra BongThe second of these stories was a mind blowing story called Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong Tim O Brien the character plays no part in it, except to introduce it view spoiler Vietnam was full of strange stories, some improbable, some well beyond that, but the stories that will last forever are those that swirl back and forth across the border between trivia and bedlam, the mad and the mundane This one keeps returning to me. The actual story is told by one of the platoon characters, Rat it s about view spoiler an assignment that Rat previously had on a remote mountain top near a village ville It was sort of a Mash type assignment, where wounded would be brought in by local choppers for emergency and trauma care, then shipped out by chopper to rear areas Mostly they played volleyball and sat around, probably smoking weed No officers, no discipline One day they re shooting the shit, and someone says hey you know we could fly a broad in here A few weeks later, a tall, big boned blond steps out of the supply chopper one morning, and is introduced by their young medic as Mary Anne, his seventeen year old girlfriend from Cleveland Heights Senior High, by way of LA, Bangkok, and Saigon.Well, skipping a whole lot of the story, the girl takes to Nam like a bee to a flower She starts dressing like the guys, learns how to fire a rifle, goes down into the ville to check out the locals, and finally starts going out on patrols with six Greenies Berets that have their own little station in an enclosed area near the medic place thus sort of leaving her boy friend Again I m not going to go into the details, but view spoiler the story takes a very strange twist, and we find this seventeen year old morphing into a female Apocalypse Now style Brando character, wearing a necklace made out of human tongues and hanging out with the Greenies in their hootch view spoiler Across the room a dozen candles were burning on the floor near the open window The place seemed to echo with a weird deep wilderness sound tribal music bamboo flutes and drums and chimes But what hit you first was two kinds of smells There was a topmost scent of joss sticks and incense, like the fumes of some exotic smokehouse, but beneath the smoke lay a deeper powerful stench Thick and numbing, like an animal s den, a mix of blood and scorched hair and excrement and the sweet sour odor of moldering flesh the stink of the kill On a post at the rear of the hooch was the decayed head of a large black leopard Off in the gloom a few dim figures lounged in hammocks The music came from a tape deck, but the high voice was Mary Anne s she stepped out of the shadows barefoot She wore her pink sweater and a white blouse and a cotton skirt.And that necklace.Well Rat draws the story out nicely, then finally ends it with view spoiler And then one morning, all alone, Mary Anne walked off into the mountains and did not come back But the story did not end there If you believed the Greenies, Rat said, Mary Anne was still somewhere out there in the dark Odd movements, odd shapes Late at night, when the Greenies were out on ambush, the whole rain forest seemed to stare in at them a watched feeling and a couple times they almost saw her sliding through the shadows Not quite, but almost She had crossed to the other side She was part of the land She was wearing her culottes, her pink sweater, and a necklace of human tongues She was dangerous She was ready for the kill. hide spoiler

  9. says:

    I took a short story writing class for kicks a while back On the first day, the professor recommended two books Mystery and Manners by Flannery O Connor and this book by Tim O Brien I promptly bought both Then I just as promptly set them aside to read something flashy I am glad I waited until after the class to read this one Otherwise, I would have quit the class immediately and never written so much as a grocery list ever again This book is genius The story about the girl with a necklace of tongues blew my mind It has been months, and I still think about it And the guy drowning in a field of poop It s hard to forget as well.Most of the book I wanted to take O Brien by the shoulders and demand to know exactly what s true and what s fabricated He is a sly fox though I doubt he would answer if I had him chained upside down and tickled the soles of his feet for days He addressed this in the book I cannot remember precisely what he wrote except that it awed and frustrated me in equal amounts.It was pure frustration yesterday as I reorganized my books Remember during the Pixar movie, WALL E, when he is holding the spork and looking left to right Does it belong with the forks or the spoons Forks Spoons Fiction Non fiction Darn you, O Brien.

  10. says:

    Admired Tim O Brien s writing since I first read Going after Cacciato several years ago that book has long been one of my favorites The Things They Carried is a different kind of book, but it shares with Going after Cacciato a powerful sense of how it feels for a soldier to be at war O Brien doesn t debate the merits of the Vietnam War, but thoughtfully speaks about the burdens, hopes and fears the soldiers in Alpha Company bore thus the title of the book In many cases, these burdens didn t end when soldiers returned Writes O Brien, You don t have to be in Nam to be in Nam There are no pitched battles described, but O Brien still makes you feel the connection to his fellow soldiers and their unenviable situation Tough to describe, but there is something about how O Brien writes and thinks which makes you know that there is a person with a conscience writing this book I had the opportunity to meet O Brien at a conference in July and got the same feeling from him The Things They Carried is highly recommended

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