War impacts numerous soldiers when they return home in a number of ways.
Their life after war should be much better, right? They have probably gone through many things in their time of service that not many of us would be willing to experience. The Things They Carried tells us about how the soldiers carried their feelings, holding onto them with a heavy burden. They all were impacted in a physical and/or mental way. By looking at the book, The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien, we can see how soldiers are affected by how horrifying it is to be at war but at the same time when they are out, they do not know what to do because all they know how to do is is hold this burden of guilt.
Tim O’Brien, the author of The Things They Carried wrote the book to express his feelings of guilt and confusion from when he was in the war. I believe he needed a way relieve himself from the burden of things that happened at war. When he killed a man with a grenade for the first time ever he had felt all types of emotions.
He made up many stories in his mind about the man he had killed. He did it to not forget he had taken someone else life away. “He was a slim, dead, almost dainty young man of about twenty (O’Brien, 124).” the text states. He would never forget about this man he had killed but he would also never forgive himself for the feelings he had to carry.
Jimmy Cross, the lieutenant of the Alpha Company, was responsible for his men and their survival. Jimmy however was just a sophomore in college when he had joined the Reserve Officers Training Corps. and so he was still immature. Jimmy had loved a classmate when he was back home but now that he was out at war so he should have forgotten about her but he couldn’t. JImmy doesn’t hold the burden of loving Martha but holds the burden of one of men dying because of him being distracted at war. After Lavender died because of Jimmy being distracted about Martha, Jimmy just starts to take it seriously and becomes the lieutenant he should of been from the start.
“He had loved Martha more than his men, and as a consequence Lavender was now dead, and this was something he would have to carry like a stone in stomach for the rest of war (O’Brien, 16). The weight he had to carry because of the war was very heavy.Norman Bowker, a soldier, believes that what makes men courageous are their awards and medals.
He however doesn’t feel this way in the end. Norman Bowker takes how own life because i assume he was too tired of carrying the guilt of Kiowa’s death. After the war he killed himself because of the extreme survivors guilt he felt and because he did not think his life after war was going to be meaningful. He had never lasted a job over a week before so he felt useless. Its is because awards and medals are suppose to make men courageous but he doesn’t think he deserves anything because of his survivors guilt. All of these characters in the story went through many mixed emotions. The losses caused great pain to all of the character in the novel. All of them kept on suffering and drowned themselves in what happened at war.
Even years after that they could not feel better about it and this is why i believe Tim O’Brien wanted to write this novel. It lets him expressed what he had been keeping inside himself for awhile. We understand how soldiers are affected by how traumatizing it is to be at war after the impact it has after they get out.