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Tim O Brien: The Things They Carried and The Ghost Soldiers

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The present research has identified that the Vietnam War marked one of the most significant losses of the United States of America on the battlefield after the Second World War. The U. S. approached the war at the background of its enormous victory in Second World War. Due to the difference in parity between the military strength of the two nations, it was quite like a battle between Goliath and David. In his widely acknowledged story “ The Things They Carried “ , Tim O’ Brien begins by describing the background of this war and the condition of the U. S.

soldiers at the battlefield. The weight of the luggage they carried has described their physical burden but more significantly the psychological burden of each soldier during Vietnam War. The seventeen soldiers, described in this story, have become the representative of all the American soldiers in the battlefield of Vietnam, though they may not be belonging to the same place and time. Apart from the common appliances that soldiers were carrying, the poncho or a polythene rapper has occupied a symbolic place in the story of O’ Brien.

Though soldiers at the Vietnam War have used it as a bed sheet or protection against rain, but finally it serves the purpose of coffin at the time of a soldier’ s last voyage, “ because the night was cold and because the monsoons were wet each carried a green plastic poncho that could be used as a rain coat or a ground sheet or a make shift tent. With his quilted liner the poncho weighed almost two pounds, but it was worth every ounce. In April, for instance, when Ted Lavender was shot, they used his poncho to rap him up, them to carry him across the paddy, then to lift him into the chopper that took him away. ” Ted has always been the person, who feared death the most among the other people of the group but he was the one who was shot first.

Such incident was a great shock for the lieutenant Jimmy Cross, who enjoyed being lost in the thoughts and loving letters of his girl friend. Finally, Jimmy learns to accept the reality and starts acting as a lieutenant, who is assigned to take care for his group and even if required, ready to die for them too.  

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