Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Things They Carried

Category: War

Author: Tim O’Brien

Summary: The narrator of most of these stories in this book is "Tim"; yet O'Brien freely admits that many of the events he chronicles in this collection never really happened But just because a thing never happened doesn't make it any less true. In "On the Rainy River," the character Tim O'Brien responds to his draft notice by driving north, to the Canadian border where he spends six days in a deserted lodge in the company of an old man named Elroy while he wrestles with the choice between dodging the draft or going to war. The real Tim O'Brien never drove north. The real Tim O'Brien quietly boarded the bus to Sioux Falls and was inducted into the United States Army. But the truth of "On the Rainy River" lies not in facts but in the genuineness of the experience it depicts: both Tim’s went to a war they didn't believe in; both considered themselves cowards for doing so. Every story in The Things They Carried speaks another truth that Tim O'Brien learned in Vietnam; it is this blurred line between truth and reality, fact and fiction, that makes his book unforgettable.


At 8:37 PM, Blogger Kelly!213 said...

"The Things They Carried" by Tim O'Brien was my favorite book. The main characters (there are several)do not have a sophisticated sense of humor, per say, but they are still amusing in the highest degree. There was SO much literary criticism for this book. There must have been at least a dozen different books that they could be found in. There was even a single literary criticism book just about "The Things They Carried." This book went really well with one of my other ALISP book "Hiroshima" by John Hersey because it perfectly contradicted the viewpoints of war. "The Things They Carried" was from an American and Ally perspective, and "Hirsoshima" was from the Japanese and "enemy" prospective. There were a few graphic parts in this book, inevtiably because it was a true war story, but these parts were nothing that a highschooler of any age couldn't handle. There was mild language in this book, but again, it was not very offensive, in my opinion. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in "Identity Search" through war and people that like short, but thought provoking novels.

At 9:19 PM, Blogger Lyndsey♪ said...


I loved this book! It was definetely my favorite of the three.

It's a very easy read, but at the same time you as the reader get so much out of it. Literary criticisms for it are also very easy to find.
RECOMMENDATION: If you read one of O'Brien's books, it might be a good idea to read one of Hemingway's. Most of the literary criticisms on O'Brien mentioned how he writes in a "Hemingwayesque" way. So it makes it a lot easier to find connections.

O'Brien is a very gifted writer-he asks the reader to find what is true and what is not in this book. He says what happened and at sometimes can give the most beautiful metaphors to go along with it. (even when someone dies).

This book can be a bit graphic at times, but then again, it is a war novel. Offensive language is used, so just a heads up.

This is a great book and I'd recommend it to anyone.


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