Customer Reviews for

The Things They Carried

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

11 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

The Things I Think

The author, Tim O'Brien who is also the protagonist, begins his novel by describing an event that occurred in the middle of his war experience in Vietnam. In "The Things They Carried" Tim O'Brien describes what his fellow soldiers in the Alpha Company took with them on ...
The author, Tim O'Brien who is also the protagonist, begins his novel by describing an event that occurred in the middle of his war experience in Vietnam. In "The Things They Carried" Tim O'Brien describes what his fellow soldiers in the Alpha Company took with them on their missions both mentally and physically. Many things they brought with them are intangible, while others are physical objects, including matches, morphine, M-16 rifles, and M&M's which he seems to focus on the amounts of each of them.

Throughout the novel, he mentions many characters multiple times in various stories which are often partially true and meta-fiction. The first member of the Alpha Company to die is Ted Lavender,a low-ranking soldier who they refer to as a "Grunt." Lavender is a man who has found tranquilizers and marijuana the only way to relieve his anxiety and fix his problems. He is shot in the head on his way back from going to the bathroom, and when his leader, Lieutenant Jimmy Cross, finds out of his death he blames himself for Lavender's unnecessary and tragic death. When Lavender is shot, Cross is deep in his thoughts of his college crush, Martha. O'Brien writes about how Cross's "love" for Martha was the cause of Lavender's death and he still holds his guilt years after the war has ended. O'Brien continues on describing the events he was involved in, and then goes into each of them describing how his fellow comrades and sometimes himself reacts, and attempts to overcome them. He uses somewhat real stories to describe how tough it is for a man to be in a situation like what he was in, meta-fiction suggesting that no real story can describe what it was like. These problems that were presented to O'Brien and his fellow soldiers in the Vietnam War changed all of their lives. The war changed them to such a point that every day, every moment of their lives yet to come will never be like before the war. O'Brien tells of others and how they have attempted to overcome their problems which are the same or similar to his. He seems to attempt to use their methods in hopes that they will fix his problems and he will be able to return to his life before he was given no choice but to head to war. O'Brien was led into a room with no way out, he is stuck carrying what he was carrying at the end of his experience in Vietnam and he is striving to find a way to get it off of his shoulders and find a better mental state. This novel could be thought of as a way that Tim O'Brien used to share his thoughts and feelings of the war and his post traumatic stress disorder.

Overall, this is an excellent novel. It is a great "thinker" book and is not a typical easy read for a High School student like myself. It is very fun to read, but it is also very difficult to read which would be one, if not my only dislike of this book. This book would be great to read because it gives you an excellent point of view from a veterans perspective; this novel shows a true veteran and what it is like to be one. An overall rating of five stars, a great book that brings satisfaction and difficulty at the same time.

posted by 2264573 on November 24, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

In the novel The Things They Carried by Tim O¿Brien indicates th

In the novel The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien indicates the abhorrent events during the Vietnam War in the 19th century. Tim O’Brien illustrates the experiences of the young soldiers were forced to fight in the war. In the beginning of the novel, O’Brien portrays ...
In the novel The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien indicates the abhorrent events during the Vietnam War in the 19th century. Tim O’Brien illustrates the experiences of the young soldiers were forced to fight in the war. In the beginning of the novel, O’Brien portrays the significance of what the soldiers carried demonstrating their personal emotions towards the war. O’Brien met many soldiers who they eventually later became important people to his life; Ted Lavender, Kiowa, Mitchell Sanders, Jimmy Cross, Lieutent Cross, Henry Dobbins and Rat Kiley. Throughout the novel, O’Brien utilizes vivid details, abhorrent imagery and distinct tone in order to convey an approach towards the fear of death and desire of survival in the soldiers’ viewpoint. As O’Brien and his fellow comrades stranded in a menace country, the fellow soldiers experience their first appalling death in Song Tra Bong. In addition, O’Brien and the boys get timid because their enemies attacked them and did not know what to do. However, in the end, O’Brien gets furious with Bobby because he made him get a stroke for his bullet wound. In conclusion, Tim lived his life in war, by witnessing repulsive deaths and experiencing physical emotions, which changed his whole life forever. What I think is most important about this story is how O’Brien illustrates the difference between telling moral stories and immoral stories. I recommend this book to everybody who enjoys reading war stories and obnoxious images of death because in this novel illustrates everything you can image about war in the 19th century.

posted by gloriaxoxox on December 17, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2013

    there was literally no plot

    there was literally no plot

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2012

    Sickening

    I thought I might add another story about the wars our brave men and women have had to fight, but not this time! When I got to page 61 and read the disgusting and abhorring description of the brutal slow torture of a BABY BUFFALO, I had enough! I wish I had had a paper copy so I could burn it, but with an e-copy, all I can do is delete it. What a waste of money!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2012

    Forced

    I had to read this book for my advanced laguage arts class, and everytime i read it it made me fall asleep. Eventually i finished it, but it got really confusing so I had to use Sparknotes to help me realize what us happening in the book. I woukdnt suggest reading the book

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2012

    Ugh...

    This was assined to me by my English teacher. Not even worth the time there is a lack of emotion and an weirdly pjrased sentence every three lines. Not worth time or money. T.M.Revolution- Resonance

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2012

    Horrible

    After Matterhorn this was a big let down. The story is either embellished or the soldiers were part of one of the most undisciplined units EVER. You may enjoy it if you are interested in a draftee sob story but if you are an infantrymam look elsewhere or listen to All Along the Watchtower for a couple hours while watching Platoon at the same time. It's crap.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2012

    Tried to write like non fiction but really failed..

    We all know war is horrific and cruel, but why insert animal cruelty if you’re writing fiction? Puppy dogs strapped on claymores, Baby VC water buffalo (must have had a VC Brand) I stopped reading when the sweet little 17 YO girl managed to hitch hike into the middle of the war then go rouge in fhe Viet Nam jungle.

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  • Posted May 22, 2011

    I want my money back

    This is only half the book, i wasted my money, money i dont have. I have to read this for my AP english class and i have to buy another book. This is a a scam

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2011

    Love book hate on the nook

    I love this book and have to read it for one of my lit. classes, yet I did not get the whole book on the nook... It goes to page 166 then stops. I'm very disappointed and will not buy another book from the nook. No wonder the book was half price, you only get half the book!!!!!!

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2004

    This book was not what I anticipated it to be.

    For my summer reading in English class I was given a list of books out of which I could choose two to read and then do the typical report or project on it. After reading the reviews on each book I decided right away this seemed like my type of book. The beginning was interesting and well written, but as I continued to read it I became to feel like reading this book was a chore instead of enjoyment. It jumped around a lot and I didn't feel a connection with any of the characters. I also realized this would be a terrible book to do a report or project on because it has no plot. I became so annoyed with this book that I decided it wasn't worth my time finishing it. I wouldn't reccomend this book to anyone for school related reading.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2002

    I didn't like this book however I have some good info.

    I did not like THE THINGS THEY CARRIED. I thought that it was just a bunch of war stories carefully pieced together. Although I did think that Tim O¿Brien did a good job of showing what it was like to be a soldier in Vietnam. You learn many things about war and why people have flashbacks about events that happened in Vietnam. I was mostly bored through out the whole book. However O¿Brien did keep my attention in his stories of how he and his platoon passed the hours with practical jokes, stories and of home. The things that bored me were when he kept going on about the things that they literally carried. He described things like can openers, pocket knives, candy, cigarettes, a toothbrush, extra underwear, comic books, and all the weapons that the differently trained soldiers carried for different missions. After so much of this, you just want to call it quiets. One of the last things that I did like about the book was the fact that he told it through a soldier¿s point of view. Over all I did not like this book but thought that it was well written and thought that O¿Brien was a very good poet. I will forever remember this book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2002

    Good book...if you're looking for a good bedtime story.

    This book is the only book I've fallen asleep in at all, let alone four times in the first 40 pages. I now have a book a step better than 'Mother Goose'. Also makes a fine paper weight. I respect Tim O'Brian for being a great author, but I personally do not think that reading about how much hand grenades, land mine detectors, and machine guns weigh for fifty pages can be interesting. After those first fifty pages, the book got a bit better, but I still could not read it because I was so tired from the first fifty pages, and some of the actions the men took.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted April 11, 2011

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    Posted May 18, 2011

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