The things they carried contains many issues with the idea of war and the loss that follows the violence. To me, the most influential chapter was In the Field. The men must find Kiowa after he was shot, killed and sunk into the field of mud. The men found it more of a responsibility than a duty for Kiowa not to be left in the mud. Their actions were out of respect not of necessity. This theme of loyalty between the soldiers really interesting and plays a major role in the relationship they have with each other. It is this loyalty that keeps the men together throughout the violence, and keeps them strong in situations of extreme emotion.
Loss of life and the idea of death are very prevalent throughout the book. When they talk of death it almost seems trivialized, and unimportant. They don’t pair sadness with emotion, but somehow manage to explain it in a simple way that death happens. When compared to the way that we mourn death and become sad by the death of a loved one, the soldiers seem very unemotional or dead to the world in which we live. I think it is so hard for people to get over the death of a loved one because when they see someone die, they realize that they will one day die as well. This concept is far from being on our minds while we live our lives, but when we are directly faced with death the issue arises. The essential key to copping with death is to accept it as a part of life. Just like we were born we will die, it happens and we have to, we have no control.