The Things They Carry

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There are several themes illustrated in the book "The Things They Carry" by Tim O'Brien. The narrator brings out these themes at different occasions using different characters in his book. One theme seen in the story is that of burden. The characters in the book carry with them many things; both literal and metaphorical. Though they carry heavy physical loads, they also carry emotional burdens. Each physical burden underscores an emotional burden. For example, Henry Dobbins carries Martha's pantyhose with him, longing for her love and comfort. Likewise, Jimmy Cross has compasses and maps, and with the responsibility for the men he is in charge of. During the war, all the members of the Alpha Company have the burden of fear. They experience fear at some point but showing it will make them vulnerable to the enemy or even sometimes cruel fellow soldiers. After the war, the men carry the psychological burdens. Those who were able to survive in the battlefield carry guilt, grief and confusion. They are having a lot of difficulties in coming to terms of their experience. Jimmy Cross reveals to O’Brien that he has not forgiven himself for the death of his fellow soldier, Ted Lavender (O’Brien 27). Norman Bowker’s grief and confusion are so much strong that he is prompted to drive carelessly around his hometown, he also writes a letter to O’Brien explaining that how he never felt right after the war. The author also carries the burden of the Vietnam War, and he decides to share it with us through the collection of his stories. Another theme constantly shown in the book is that of shame and guilt. Soldiers felt that they had an obligation to go to war for fear of

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