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Things They Carried


            
             "The Things They Carried" by Tim O"Brien is a story that lacks drama in the beginning but has plenty towards the end. One of the main characters Ted Lavender is killed (which is revealed near the end of the story) due to his Lieutenant Jimmy Cross" fantasizing about Martha a girl he loves who does not love him back. It is only until the death of Lavender that Lt. Cross can rid his mind of Martha and focus on his duties to be a good Lieutenant. O"Brien's use of repetitions throughout the story is structured in a manner to keep the reader's interest without giving away to many details until the end of the story. The repetitions in the story are constant descriptions of the things each solider carries, Lt. Cross" fascination with Martha and Ted Lavender's death. O"Brien's repetitious structure in "The Things They Carried" is by far the main factor that adds suspense in this story.
             O"Brien implants what each soldier is carrying firmly in the reader's mind by listing things the soldiers need for necessity (61), superstition (66) and emotional baggage (70). This constant reminder is structured so that the reader can feel the heaviness of each soldier's load. "Among the necessities were these items weighed 15 and 20 pounds depending on a man's habits or rate of metabolism" (61). O"Brien allows the reader to envision themselves trudging through the Than Khe swamps carrying ammo, good-luck charms and memories of loved ones but most of all the fear of being killed. .
             This allows the reader to keep reading to find out what is going to happen to each soldier, who is going to succumb to the pressures of the war and/or their own fears. O"Brien's use of what the soldiers carry in each section appears to be overkill but at the end of the story it is very much appreciated. So, that the readers can be transformed into the Vietnam War carrying a lot of weight and the heaviest of them all fear.


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