am 6. Juli 2005
THE THINGS THEY CARRIED is a powerful memoir in the form of a collection of short stories about the haunting life of Tim O'Brien and a company of soldiers in Vietnam.
The Things They Carried was a thought-provoking and inspirational book. This highly vivid description of the Vietnam War kept me reading through the night until the last page. I am not a big reader but once I picked up this book I was reading for hours! This book gives a taste of Vietnam for those who were not there. The interesting thing about this book is that it tells the true life of the soldiers giving us a better idea of what the soldiers went, and what war really is. One comes close to understanding how the feelings from going to war, leaving their families behind them, losing loved friends, killing another man, and how the pathetic nature of the foods and sleeping conditions; all traumas of war that can change a human being forever.
If you like war novels, then this is a must read. Even if you don't like war books and think they're all the same, read this and you will reconsider. One thing for sure is that you will appreciate the style of writing and the way it makes you think. You still get to laugh despite the deaths and destructions. The soldiers seem to taunt life with life and death games. Written with a deep message and in a manner similar to CHEKHOV AND TISI JANVIER, this anthology of related short stories about the Vietnam War portrays men who faced their fears, confronted danger, came out alive but became scarred for life.
am 9. Mai 2004
Vietnam has never be that close as in Tom O'Brien's book "The things they carried". In short stories the author tells the things which are carried by the soldiers fighting in Vietnam. They do not only carry their weapons and rucksacks, but also memories and stories which are to be told. And those stories go deep into the reader's mind and leave a mark. As a reader you are suddenly one of them and you fight with them, share their memories, cry with them, think you go nuts like them and try not to forget about what you're fighting for.
O'Brien is a great writer. He knows how to tell different stories without getting monotone and boring. He makes war as alive and deadly as it has been in Vietnam.
am 31. Juli 2000
This book is priceless. I waited three years to find the time to properly read this book. The wait was worth it.
I'm 24. I missed Vietnam. All my life I've had a strange fascination with the conflict in Vietnam. I look back on my parents' generation and struggle to figure out exactly what moved them so tremendously to oppose this conflict. What was going on over there? Why were we there? Who was there? What was it really that was so horrific? Why did so many soldiers come back emotionally crippled?
Tim O'Brien has answered many of my questions. War, particularly the "war" in Vietnam, strips a man down to his basic instincts. In this collection of remembrences, O'Brien not only examines what became of men's ideals, beliefs, and reasons for action, but also makes sense of why. He doesn't explain this flat out, rather, he allows the reader to discover how boys become men of war. As the reader follows a soldiers story she can understand how his mindset came to be by the decisions he makes. O'Brien's style is to show, not tell. Through these anecdotes, the reader can see what happens to boys in a war in a jungle that turns them into animals. It is almost a real life "Lord of the Flies" or "Heart of Darkness". The most traumatic part of all this is that once they have become a new breed of human by surviving on their terms, they return and must be readmitted to society on its terms.
The actual subject matter aside, O'Brien raises the level of this work by treating it also as an exercise in exquisite writing. Based on his storytelling abilities alone, this book could serve as a model in creative writing. While at first, there may seem to be a random relation of the stories in their order, but the emotion of each story, along with the differing tone and style, is part of a larger mood that O'Brien is setting. As the stories shift from reflective to frustrated to eerie calm to tortured, the reader can better feel the impact of this collection.
I can't speak for anyone but myself, but if you want to have a keyhole through which you can peer to get a glimpse of a soldier in Vietnam, this is it.
am 4. November 1999
In Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried, he presents a unique view of the Vietnam War. Experiences seen in the eyes of a soldier touch the reader on a more personal level. O'Brien uses exceptional detail to portray events in their actuality. Tim O'Brien's attentiveness to detail and his passion for the Vietnam War topic both contribute to the successfulness of his novel. O'Brien covers a wide variety of topics and situations throughout his novel. He covers all the aspects of war from things the soldiers carried to crushes that soldiers had on people back home. By writing about the little things of a soldier's personal life, he was able to convey a realistic, more personalized image of the war life to his readers. It seems important to O'Brien to present the truth and actual emotions felt during the war. Presenting anything but perfection would not be doing our veterans justice. O'Brien makes it obvious that he completely honors and respects the Vietnam War veterans. Accounts of a soldier's personal life are evident throughout the novel. O'Brien uses these personal accounts not only to present an accurate portrayal of war life, but also to show the diversity of the American soldiers that fought with dignity for our country. It is true that these personal recollections can all be either saddening, inspiring, or mind-boggling. Whichever the case, each individual story has a personal significance to every person who reads it. I would recommend this novel to any person who seeks a different version of the Vietnam War. Not only does it present historical facts, but it also gives the reader a perspective from the eyes of a soldier. I think that every reader will appreciate its thoroughness, and extreme attention to detail. Tim O'Brien's novel gives war veterans the honor and respect that they deserve.
am 14. Februar 2000
I read the title story of "The Things They Carried" in college and thought it was one of the best stories I'd ever read. It wasn't until a month or so later that I learned it was a book-length work and one day when I was killing time in the library I tracked it down, found an empty carrel, and stared reading.
Four hours and a missed dinner later I finished the book and sat there for a long time trying to take it all in. These stories-- and it is difficult to say which are stories, which are memories, and whether there is a distinction between the two-- are so sad and funny and disturbing that I was exhausted when I finished. But the next day I went out and bought my own copy of the book and I've re-read it maybe twenty times. It's a book I always recommend when someone asks me if I've read anything good lately. It's been 10 years and this book is still one of the first that leaps to mind.
O'Brien creates a surreal world of men at war and the time that exists before and after war. The characters (who may or may not be O'Brien and the men he served with) fight and play and kill and die with no real sense that there is an outside order trying to impose its will. There are things to be carried and hills to be climbed and missions to be accomplished and there is no firm beginning or end to it. The war never ends, because the stories about it go on.
And that is perhaps the other big theme of the book. These stories are not just about war, but about how stories can themselves create a reality as real as the one we walk around in. O'Brien alternately tells us that the stories we are reading are true, that they really happened, and then later admits that he made it all up. Writing fiction is, after all, the skillful and entertaining telling of lies. But then O'Brien tells us that these "stories" are often more truthful than the cold hard facts. This isn't presented in a pretentious, oracular way, but it the words of a man trying to understand just what happened to him and people he cared about.
I don't know how good a job I've done in conveying how great this book is, so let me just say that if you read this book, you won't be disappointed in the least bit. When you finished you'll be right back here recommending it to someone else.
am 8. November 1999
The Things They Carried, by Tim O'Brien, is a story about life that is played out on a backdrop of the Vietnam conflict. As someone progresses through the book, one finds new meaning and simplifications of everyday life. O'Brien captures the essence of both the conflict in Vietnam and the deep feelings and thoughts that are within every one of us. His style of writing is like no other I have seen. He mixes a sense of realism into this fictitious story. Though it was based on a true event, he developed dialogue and personalities for each of the characters as if it were a work of fiction. If O'Brien did not tell us before hand that the novel was fiction, one would definitely believe it truly happened sometime in his life. The style of writing does not alter or hamper the true meaning that one will find in this superb book. It is irrelevant whether or not it is true or a work of fiction, because his meaning and thoughts surface no matter how it was written. Another key to O'Brien's style is his use of randomness within the book. Some chapters appear to follow a trend or the same story line, but others fly off at a tangent and in no way, shape, or form do they apply to the basic story line that is presented in the beginning. Randomness, allows for a reader to feel confused so it symbolizes the confusion found during the Vietnam conflict. Overall I find that The Things They Carried to be a very appealing book, especially if you are a fan of war novels. His use of randomness and a sense of realism in a work of fiction prove to me, that this is one book everybody should read. Besides the fact that the writing style is very unique, the story emotes many emotions and feelings along with teaching new ideas and thoughts, which all occurs in the years of the Vietnam conflict, both at home and in the "Nam" itself.
am 8. November 1999
Memories are our link to life and those memories are the most important when you are surrounded by death and what better place to find death than a war. Most of the time we carry these memories with us, but we take it for granted that these things will always be there. we place them in the back of our mind and recall them only when we find need or are reminded of them. Well, it's about time that someone reminded us of those memories. O'Brien's, The Things They Carried, deals not only witht he pysical things they carried for the war, but the pysical things they carried to remember home and the emotional pressures they carried. At first glance, my reaction was, "Great! Another graphic war novel for those who can't stop learning about war." But this isn't a book about the war itself, it's a book about the people who fought the war. It's not about the government that started the war, but a book for every unsung hero that helped finish a war. The novel takes place in Vietnam, but if you change the setting and some of the equipment that they carried, this book could be about any war in history. The Things They Carried goes beyond the war to look at the people and as anyone who takes the time to look can see, the people are just like you and me. One of the characters carries a bible and another carries a picture of a loved one. They simple things because they are simple people, no different from you or me. Because O'Brien focuses on this fact, I think it helps put us in their place and stories are always best when you get to live them no matter how bad the situation may be in the story. I personally would have people read this book not only for the stories that they can relate to, but for the stories that make them look through somebody else's eyes. After all, the only way to make the world better is to look at it from a slightly different point of veiw. Whether it be upside down or through somebody else's eye, that's their choice. No matter what veiw you choose, remember, just remember.
am 4. November 1999
Magnificent is the first word that comes to mind when someone begins to talk about the book The Things They Carried. This book has stories within stories about the lives of the men during the Vietnam War. One really begins to feel the sadness and the happiness that they feel through out the entire book. Each chapter is different from the other, and yet they are the same. The chapters are all related to each other, but each has their own unique flair to it. Even people that have no interest in history would find this book very entertaining. The reader can become one with each individual character. One can almost become emotionally involved with it as well it he/she lets themselves. The stories in this book by Tim O'Brien are all mostly sad stories. The chapters are usually talking about the men waiting for the enemy, losing one of their men, looking for someone, or describing the simple things in life that were making them so happy
during this time of such awful conditions. There is definitely some humor in the stories, though. The humor is very dry, but it sort of makes the reader chuckle a little bit. Men talking about their girlfriends and the silly things they do or have to remember them by. One man even fell in love with a girl that he never even hardly talked to. These things can make the reader realize just how bad it must have been out there if these silly things were the things that made them so happy and kept them going. Some people may take this book and relate it to their lives. Sure they haven't been in a war probably, but some of the feelings that these men feel are probably very similar to the feelings of other people in other difficult situations. This book is definitely one that will keep a person interested until the end. The stories definitely go directly to the hearts of the readers because it is so tragic and sad. Even with that, though, this book is definitely a winner and a must to read.
am 4. November 1999
The Things They Carried was a very relevant, to the story, title. The book is all about the things soldiers carry; both tangible and intangible. Not only did Tim O'Brien, the author, talk about what the soldiers carried on their backs, but how much each item weighed. O'Brien places a great deal of emphasis on the weight. Time after time, the weight of items are mentioned. This is especially true in the title chapter. Sometimes the weights are listed by the individual object and sometimes as a sum total at the end of a list of items.
Not only are the weights in such detail as to the ounce, but the actual items each man carries is in such detail as to describe the man who carries it. One of the many examples of this use of carried items to describe the character who bares its weight is in the title chapter, "Dave Jensen, who practiced field hygiene, carried a toothbrush, dental floss, and several hotel-sized bars of soap . . . three pairs of socks and a can of dr. Scholl's foot powder . . ." (2-3). From this passage, one can logically deduce Dave Jensen is very concerned about his health, especially the health of his feet. After all, if someone had sick feet he could not walk, let alone run around foreign jungle.
One type of object on which O'Brien tended to dwell, not that it was a bad thing, were the good luck charms and other objects that gave the soldiers hope or helped to distract them from the animosity of the so-called war they were fighting. The objects ranged from a stereotypical rabbit's foot to a good luck pebble to a thumb given to one of the soldiers as a gift. Another soldier carried something that helped to give him the hope that one day he would be able to return home, and that also gave him luck. This aforementioned soldier carried his girlfriend's pantyhose around his neck like a child would carry his blanky. He carried it as both a good luck charm and a reminder of the real world back home. Also as reminders of home and escapes from the brutality, soldiers carried things like comic books and one soldier, as a reminder of his heritage, carried moccasins and a hunting hatchet.
These previously mentioned items are some of the tangible items the soldiers carried. The intangible items, the items that weighed heavily, not on the shoulders of the soldiers, but on their hearts. It is the load they must bare that is more difficult then any tangible object could ever weigh. These intangible objects weighed on the hearts, souls, and minds of the soldiers. One of these intangible weights was the weight on one member of the platoon, Lt. Jimmy Cross. He felt responsible for the death of one of the other members of his platoon who was shot by a sniper. Another man, Curt Lemon - a minor character in the story, carried the weight of the embarrassment of being scared of the dentist. One thing that added onto the weight of everything tangible or intangible, was these men were mot fighting a crystal-clear war. These soldiers did not know who their enemies were or why they had to kill these people. Overall, the weight these men carried was almost unbearable, especially the intangible weights that could never be lifted, and O'Brien does an excellent job of making the reader feel as f he is right there in the thick of the war.
am 4. November 1999
A true testament to the horror of the Vietnam War is Tim O'Briens's collection of stories, The Things They Carried. He uses blunt informational statements to contrast with his profound emotional writing. They carried 14 pounds of ammunition, and O'Brien tells what they did with it. The Things They Carried is a book that takes the reader to the dark side of a soldiers mind a and soul. O'Brien revels to the reader the psychological effects of war; the depression, fear, paranoia, and loss. The book provides a real insight into the damage that war causes. O'Brien takes the reader to the details in a soldiers life. For example, he tells how to help deal with their emotional trauma the soldiers clung to their own personal pieces of happiness. Letters, a girlfriend's panty hose, peaches, or a bible. They treasured an odd assortment of goods, each holding much importance . O'Brien writings in The Things They Carried are so vivid it seems he experienced the stories himself. This is possible being that he was a soldier in the Vietnam War. Yet O'Brien claims that the book of stories is a work of fiction. Certain passages may leave the reader suspecting otherwise. Norman Bunker lying on his back one night, watching the stars, then whispering to me, "I'll tell you something O'Brien. If I could have one wish , anything I'd wish for my dad to write......(p.36) Despite whether the stories in the book are real life experiences for O'Brien or not, he certainly is able to portray them to be as real as the sun in the sky. This book is a must read for the man or woman who wants to know what scars a war can leave, and the emotional, and physical effects of war.O'Brien has created an portal into the life of a Vietnam soldier, don't miss your chance to look through it.