The Things They Carried by Tim O Brian
In Module one we answered several questions about particular chapters but one of the chapters that probably hit me the hardest was “How to Tell A True War Story” (O’Brien, 74-76). In this portion of the story Rat Kiley and Kurt Lemon are two friends who were playing catch in the hopes to get some quick smiles and laughs in the middle of all this turmoil called Vietnam. Curt wasn’t paying attention to where he was walking and he stepped on a booby-trapped 105 round. He was dead instantly. In Rat Kiley’s anger he picked this harmless animal to mutilate senselessly.It was a senseless act because slaughtering this buffalo wasn’t going to bring back his friend.
“A true war story, if truly told, makes the stomach believe”. It did just that reading the detailed account of how Rat shot this animal piece by piece in his anger. He didn’t shoot it in the heart so that it would die instantly he took his time and that’s what made it so true and gruesome. How we as humans can seem too strong and tough but when we love we love hard and all rational goes out the window.We also discussed in module one about “On The Rainy River” (O’Brien 37-58). How Tim had to make a decision on whether or not he was going to serve in this war because he received a draft notice. During the 1960’s a draft meant you had no choice you were mandated to participate whether you wanted to or not.
He wanted to go to Canada to hide our assignment was to decide whether or not we would have done the same. Everyone fears the unknown it is a natural occurrence but it happen even more so when you know the unknown might cost you your life.It is already known that “War is hell” (O’Brien, 74). But now he had to decide between his family and his country or his life. The chances of him returning home in one piece were slim. “All of us, I suppose, like to believe that in a moral emergency we will behave like the heroes of our youth, bravely, forthrightly, without thought of personal loss or discredit” (O’Brien, 37). But reality is no one wants to die especially when you don’t believe in the cause.
The end result, the true reason I believe he decided to go was because of his fear. The fear he had to fail his family and friends that would feel the shame because of his actions. It was the fear of the consequences for not going. He called himself a coward because he didn’t flee. I was under the impression we was brave because he was able to face death in order to please his family and friends. That’s when I realized that this book told a story of how someone felt how they look at the world through their own eyes.It made me realize that everyone’s philosophy could be completely different depending on how we perceive the world.
My cousin and I come from the same neighborhood, the same schools, the same culture but I always seek knowledge out and she wishes for nothing more than food, music and television to entertain her days. She finds humor in other people’s failures and critiques people harshly but doesn’t look at her own mistakes. She will find excuses for her failures by passing the blame on others.I wonder why did we come out so different when we come from the same place and our parents are very similar. But in some ways I find her courageous because she behaves this way in public and in private she doesn’t pretend to be something she is not and she is proud of herself no matter what anyone thinks. I think Tim would say my cousin is brave because she was able to do what she wanted to do regardless of what others think. I think if cousin would have been placed in that position she would have went to Canada.