The Things They Carried The Things They Carried discussion


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Mason Wheeler In the first section of the book The Things They Carried the main character O’Brian talks about how war stories should be told and how they are one of the things that soldiers have to carry with them the rest of their lives. In the section called “How to Tell a True War Story” he talks about how war stories are never moral and they are not told to instruct or to teach someone a lesson.(pg.68) This was very important part I feel because it seems from the first section of the book that the whole story will be mainly war stories. “If at the end of a war story you feel uplifted, or if you feel that some small bit of rectitude has been salvaged from larger waste, then you have been made a victim of a very old and terrible lie.” This sentence really makes it clear what he is trying to say, there are nothing good that comes out of war stories, ever. Throughout the book so far he has been giving stories of things that had happened to him and his experiences. One story that he tells is about how he was spacing off thinking about a girl when one of his soldiers was shot while taking a pee. He has said how shocked he was that the man just fell” like cement.”(pg.17) Stories like these show that there aren’t any good war stories, and that because of this soldiers have to carry all of these bad memories with them for the rest of their lives.


message 2: by Kim Reese (last edited Dec 14, 2015 12:13PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kim Reese I have known quite a few vets that have seen action, mostly in Vietnam. Even when they are among other vets, they do not talk about it. They do not get "deep in their cups" and start telling true war stories. They do tell funny soldier-stories, maybe from r&r, etc. But not the everyday horror. Is it because nothing good can come out of war stories? A deep part of themselves that they barely acknowledge realizes that there is no "moral of the story" for the true war stories, so what is the point of telling it? For that matter, what was the point of the war to begin with? Some questions do not have answers and if they have made it back from the war and have a life they can live and appreciate, why start going down those kind of rabbit holes?


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