“Things They Carried” by Tim O’ Brien is a story which narrates about the experience of the in Vietnam War. Tim O’Brien is both the narrator and the protagonist of the story. He attends war as a scared young person and the painful memories he encountered during war is elaborated in the story. The story brings to the reader the life of a soldier who is torn between life and death. Occasionally, the author lets an omniscient third character to tell the story. The story is a first account of the internal conflict of pain, confusion and suffering of a soldier in Vietnam War. ( Thesis)
The story is about the internal conflict of a soldier who is rifted between the personal and professional life. The first Internal conflict underwent by the author is the confusion whether to go for war or not. The inner turmoil about the suffering and death petrified him. The author spent one week thinking what to do. The author had the option to move to Canada and live a secure life. He had the conflicting emoting boiling in him of whether to please himself by not going for war or making his family and people proud by going to war later, the author is forced to enter war due to his personal obligation towards his country and morality. It was more of fear of embarrassment which forced him to go to war.
Another conflict in the story was being a soldier and civilian. When Tim was injured, he was transferred and was given light duty he felt he was a civilian. When his friends visited him he felt like he was not among them. There was a conflict of emotions in him of anger and resentment. They had changed so much that they felt out of the society. There are internal and external conflicts in this story. There are many fights between the author and other people in the story. There was shooting and also fist fighting among people. There were many conflicts going inside each character. The issue of shame, courage, blame and doing the right thing were present. There was also conflict of emotion of preserving romantic memories or eradicating them from mind and heart.
The story “Thing They Carried” by Tim O’ Brien is about internal and external conflicts a person undergoes when forced to go to war. The story reflects the turmoil of a person who has to abandon his desires and wishes to show his obligation as a citizen. The story showcases the turmoil of the author before going war, during war and after war. The difficulties of the author are narrated through different events and people get an idea of the emotional and physical conflicts encountered by a soldier. The author sacrificed his life for his country but in the end he faces a conflict even on his identity. The story is a self account of real life experience of war and pain it brings to a person.