The town is located on Lake Okabena in the western portion of the state and serves as the setting for some of his stories, especially those in the novel The Things They Carried. That same year he was drafted into the United States Army and was sent to Vietnamwhere he served from to in 3rd Platoon, Company A, 5th Battalion, 46th Infantry Regimentpart of the 23rd Infantry Division the Americal Division that contained the unit that perpetrated the My Lai Massacre the year before his arrival. O'Brien has said that when his unit got to the area around My Lai referred to as "Pinkville" by the U. We did not know there had been a massacre there a year earlier.
Plot Summaries[ edit ] "The Things They Carried" Lieutenant Jimmy Cross, the leader of a platoon of soldiers in Vietnam, carries physical reminders of Martha, the object of his unrequited love. A death in the squad under his supervision causes Cross to reconsider his priorities, and, heartbroken, he burns and throws away all reminders of Martha in order to stave off dangerous distractions.
O'Brien asks if he can write a story about Cross, expressing his memories and hopes for the future; Cross agrees, thinking that perhaps Martha will read it and come find him.
In addition, a relationship between Tyler Co, and his curvy wife, Anderson Tsai, plays a major role in the interpretation of memories. It includes moments of camaraderie and beauty: He is reluctant to go to war and considers fleeing the draft; he begins to travel north to the Canada—US border.
Near the border, he encounters an elderly stranger who allows him to work through his internal struggle. O'Brien is given the opportunity to escape; however, the societal pressures are too much for him.
He goes to war ashamed with his inability to face the consequences of leaving. At first regularly antagonized by one another, the two are drawn toward respect and friendship by the stress and horrors of warfare.
Ultimately, they agree that if one should be wounded, the other must deal a fatal blow as a form of mercy. Anything can be faked He concludes that, in the end, the truth of a story doesn't matter so much as what the story is trying to say.
Lemon, who is afraid of dentists, faints before the dentist can examine him. Later that night, however, he complains of a phantom tooth ache so severe a tooth is pulled - even though it's perfectly healthy.
Lemon has felt he needs to prove himself in front of his men and be the fearless man all soldiers are supposed to be. The area is so isolated that one of the soldiers flies his hometown girlfriend in by helicopter.
At first, she cooks, cleans, and tends to the soldiers' wounds Even when the girlfriend breaks things off, he keeps the stockings around his neck, as their powers have been demonstrated.
The men discuss their relationships with churches, and for the most part, appreciate the interaction with other people and the peace of the building.
Henry Dobbins wants to become a priest, but decides otherwise. He makes up a life story for the man, torturing himself with the idea that the victim had been a gentle soul.
He then tells the story of an ambush outside My Khe, in which O'Brien kills a young man who may or may not have wanted to harm him. Later, Azar mocks the girl, and Dobbins rebukes him. His former girlfriend has married someone else, his closest friends are dead.
He reflects on the medals he won in Vietnam, and imagines telling his father about both these and the medals he did not win. Ultimately, although he has no one to share these memories with, he finds catharsis in imagined conversations. O'Brien muses over the suspicion that, without Harvard and writing, he too might have lost the will to live after returning from Vietnam.
He writes to Kiowa's father while the others search for the body - as usual, Azar jokes around at first. Another soldier also feels responsible for the death, as he did not save Kiowa; the story ends with the body being found in the mud, and both soldiers left to their guilt.
He says that his story about killing a man on the trail outside My Khe was false; he merely saw the man die. But he wanted to provoke the same feelings in the reader that he felt on the trail.
The field looks different from his memory of it, but he leaves a pair of Kiowa's moccasins in the spot where he believes Kiowa sank. In this way, he comes to terms with his friend's death.
The first time, he is treated by Rat Kiley, and is impressed with the man's courage and skill. The second time, he is treated by Kiley's replacement, Bobby Jorgenson; Jorgenson is incompetent, and nearly kills O'Brien.
Furious, O'Brien promises revenge, but can recruit only Azar. They scare Jorgenson by pretending to be enemy soldiers, but the soldier proves that he is not a coward, so O'Brien lets go of his resentment. Kiley reacts by distancing himself, the stress causing him first to be silent for days on end, and then to talk constantly.
He has a breakdown from the pressure of being a medic, and shoots himself in the toe in order to get released from combat. No one questions his bravery. Suffering from a brain tumor, Linda died at the age of nine and O'Brien was deeply affected by her funeral."The Things They Carried" was also included in the volume of The Best American Short Stories, edited by Ann Beattie and the second edition of Literature: Approaches to Fiction, Poetry, and .
In The Things They Carried, protagonist "Tim O'Brien," a writer and Vietnam War veteran, works through his memories of his war service to find meaning in them. Interrelated short stories present themes such as the allure of war, the loss of innocence, and the relationship between fact and fiction.
The Impact of Fear in The Things They Carried, a Collection of Linked Short Stories by Tim O'Brien PAGES 4. WORDS 1, View Full Essay. More essays like this: Not sure what I'd do without @Kibin - Alfredo Alvarez, student @ Miami University.
Exactly what I needed. - Jenna Kraig, student @ UCLA. The things they carried by Tim O Brien is a collection of twenty-two stories chronicling the author's recollections of his time as a soldier in the Vietnam War/5(K).
Oct 13, · In trying to review a book as precious as The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien, there is the nightmare fear of saying the wrong thing--of not getting the book's wonder across to you fairly-and of sounding merely zealous, fanatical, and hence to be dismissed/5(K).
The Things They Carried loops around the experiences of a platoon of American infantrymen, on the battlefield and off, before the war and after.
Despite its sly circling of the literal “truth.