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The Burdens They Carried

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The Burdens They Carried

July 13, 2007

The Burdens They Carried

In Tim O' Brian's, The Things They Carried, he talks about the Vietnam War and its effects on the country. Tim O' Brian uses the psychological approach to tell the sorrows of war. The things that they carried had all represented a part of each soldier. The story is better understood because the reader can discover the background of the story and each of the characters personality. The thought of having two approaches to the story is just unacceptable and definitely not normal, but the two methods of interpreting a story like this; fused together brings about a great understanding of the characters and the events that take place within the story. The deceitful interpretations presented, the things they carried, and a transformation of a dainty girl that turns into a survivor are examples of each method presented.

The deceitful interpretation presented in the essay "How to tell a true war story" (O’ Brian, 1990), is an example of Historicism. Today, people hear about the Vietnam War through family members, friends and veterans. When people tell war stories they try to make themselves seem victorious. It makes the person listening feel as if it was all in the good of the people by killing other people. Tim O'Brian somehow justifies a point in his book by stating, "A true war story is never moral. It does not instruct, nor encouraged virtue, nor suggest models of proper human behavior, nor restrain men from doing the things men have always done." (63) In actual reality more harm was done than good. People were forced off of their lands to hide and seek refuge and the economic consequence was fatal. To derive to the point, O' Brian is saying there is no real war story if the audience feels that killing people had made a big and better consequence. To look back upon the Vietnam War it brought Vietnam to its knees. The Americans assisted someone who asked them not to interfere and in the end there was no winner; no victorious contribution. The Americans had nothing to gain by fighting this war. The title was a contradictory of how to tell a true war story.

As we carry on, we notice another example of the Historicism approach in the story of Song Tra Bong. At first the young American girl is presented as an average girl in the 60's. Mary Ann was her name, very good looking, friendly and sweet. She used cosmetics and other materials to keep herself up and to smell good. Girls in those times were not supposed to go out and fight wars as I stated once before. A women place in the work force was not even existent. The woman's place was at home taking care of the kids, cooking, cleaning and so forth. This young girl is also an example of the psychoanalytic literature in the flesh. She had undergone a complete transformation; therefore she was no longer the stereotypical American women the 60's and 70's. She had learned how to assemble weapons, cook rice over a can of sterno and so forth. Mary Ann had seen casualties in the war and was no longer afraid. Mary Ann had learned how to survive in a war on her own. This is shown in this quote, "She had crossed

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