Monday, January 25, 2010

Exploartion Four: The Things They Carried

I think that the most interesting chapater was " The Man I Killed". Not only did this chapter begin with a strong introduction of sense detail but it was one chapter I felt sympathy for both sides of the war. The Vietnamese boy was described as a boy that wanted nothing to do with the war but instead had a passion for education-teaching mathematics. He helt the pressure of his country; an expectation and a privledge to defend his country and his land. He would have had a bright future but it ended after he became like "oatmeal" in a village of My Khe. I felt bad for the narrator, the man who killed the boy. He didnt know he was harmless, just trying to make his way through the trail. He explained " I did not hate the young man; I did not see him as the enemy; I did not ponder the issue of politics or military duty." The granade me threw was to make him go away but instead it he ended up with his "jaw in his throat, his upper lip and teeth were gone, one eye was shut, the other eye was a star-shaped hole." I think the narrator felt so much guilt because he unintentionally killed the boy. I found this interesting that even in a time of war, there is still so much guilt on killing an enemy when you are praised for it.

What does this book make you think about the impact of tragic loss? Why do people struggle so much to get over the loss of close friends or family? What is the best way to do this?
When i read this book, it makes me sad and depressed to think about what those men did for our country; half of them still unaware of what they were fighting for. It also opens up a different perpective for the reader, or a person who has never expeienced a situation like that. I think a trgic loss in a time of war is almost worse than a loss anywhere else. These men become like family to eachother; they learn to totally trust one another and lean back on for protection and in everyday situations. When a person dies for them, they feel like they have to put on this falso sense of toughness. Some cant be seen crying and they dont have time to mourn. They are expected to find the body, wrap it up and send it properly off in a chopper. I find that much harder to do because they dont get to properly say goodbye. People struggle with it so much because that is the way we handle situations like death; we are affected by the loss of people we love and care for. The best way I can think of to overcome this is remember the positives and the good times spent with this person. Dont forget who they were and how they influenced you.


  1. I agree it was very sad how the boy was killed. I don't know how those men survived after watching their men killed and then having to wrap them up and put them on a chopper. It wasn't fair for them. There wasn't any closure for them.

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  3. When O'Brien was describing the young man, I thought about the chapter called, "On the Rainy River" In this chapter he mentiones several qualities that the young main he called had too. They were both intellegent, both had lives outside of the war they wanted to continue. Both well educated and had plans to continue on to grad school. It was sad to read about the death of the young man becuase both of the men I felt like they didn't even want to be apart of the war in the first place.