Monday, January 25, 2010

Response to The Things They Carried

The chapter that engaged me the most in The Things They Carried, was "The Man I Killed." I think it was very powerful because of the language that the author uses here. In this chapter, he describes, in great detail, a man that he shot and killed. He describes the way the man fell to the ground, the star shaped hole he left in the man's head, and the way the man bled, but then he goes deeper. The author talks about the man's life, what he wanted to do, where he wanted to go, and why he never wanted to go to war. But now he was dead, the author feels terrible. To me, with all the repetition and gruesome detail in this chapter, it seems that the author is trying to bring this man back to life in a way. He feels terrible for killing the man, so he gives him a chapter in the book because it's all he can do.

Readin this book makes me think a lot about the issue of war in general, how it effects people. The way the author describes a dead man, the way a character like Henry Dobbins carries himself in a place where he doesn't seem to belong, or the way a man like Kiley can shoot that baby water buffalo after one of his friends die, it all seems to be just a part of the war. I think that men like these shouldn't be forced to go to war like they were. If Henry Doobbins never wanted to hurt anyone, he shouldn't have to. It's not right.


  1. I liked this chapter too because he continues to repeat the description of the man and what he wanted to do with his life. I think he does this in order to really make us understand how bad he felt and what it all meant to him.

  2. I thought this chapter was to finally tell his hardest story. Im sure telling a story about a man you killed must be hard. So he described him so much, and the mans life so vividlly to maybe let him go. I though O'Brien made up the mans life so he didnt have to think about him anymore.

  3. I disagree about what you said about Henry Dobbins not having to hurt anyone. Once you are a soldier in a war, you have a duty to follow. But I do agree with your basic idea about not having to hurt someone if you don't want to; I think you shouldn't be forced into the military. It should be a personal choice to join the armed forces, and it should be motivated by honorable reasons.