Speaking of courage

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Student’s Name: Professor’s Name: Course Name: Date: “Speaking of Courage” Tim O’Brien’s short story “Speaking of Courage” is just one in an anthology of stories found in The Things They Carried. In it, the author extensively explores the theme of courage and strives to help the audience understand the realities of war. O’Brien shows us that the bravery needed during times of war by those who participate in it is far more than can be humanly possible. He relies on different aspects such as setting and the use of symbols to adequately explore the theme. The following essay will discuss the importance of the setting as well as O’Brien’s use of symbols in the short story. One of the most visible things that the reader takes from the story is the fact that it is close to impossible to truly understand the vagaries of war unless you are involved in it. However, O’Brien’s use of settings, symbols and extensive exploration of various themes brings the reality of war as close as possible to the audience. The story revolves around multiple settings. The most straightforward definition of background is a place and a time where a specific scene or scenes take place. In his flashbacks of the war, Norman Bowker recalls how Captain Jim Cross convinced them to set up camp on the banks of the river in a Vietnamese village. Despite warnings from a local woman against setting up camp, they still go ahead and do so. Only later do they discover that they are on sewage or as they commonly referred to it, a shit field. The most memorable thing about it was the stench. It was unbearable. He describes it as such, “Like quicksand almost, except the stink was

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