The Elusiveness Of War And The Tenuousness Of Morality
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The Elusiveness of War and the Tenuousness of Morality in Tim O'Brien's "The Things They Carried," "How to Tell a True War Story," and "Style" In the novel The Things They Carried, Tim O'Brien demonstrates how exposure to the atrocities of nations at war leads to the soldiers having skewed perspectives on what is right and wrong, predominantly at times when the purpose of the war itself appears elusive. The ambiguity that consumes the stories of "The Things They Carried" and "How to Tell a True War Story" is displayed with irony, for the 'moral' of such war stories is that there is no moral at all. O'Brien portrays the character Mitchell Sanders as an observer who seeks the morals to be found through the war fatalities; however, he depicts these morals in a manner that actually stresses the impiety of the situations above all else. The characters in this novel are at the forefront of the Vietnam War, thus blinded by carnage that soon begins to obscure any prior notions held about what is moralistic and what is not. The death of Ted Lavender in "The Things They Carried" leads to Lieutenant Jimmy Cross' moral blunder which is brought about by his guilt over the horror of the incident: Lieutenant Cross felt the pain. He blamed himself [..] He pictured Martha's smooth young face [..] and now Ted Lavender was dead because he loved her so much and could not stop thinking about her.
When the dustoff arrived, they carried Lavender aboard. Afterward they burned Than Khe. (6-7)Cross deals with his ignorance as a leader by burning down an entire village, which is noticeably a result of the distorted boundary between moral and immoral actions caused by this war. Lavender's death also reaches a point of irony when Sanders claims that the moral to the situation is in fact the immorality of it, saying "The moral's pretty obvious. Stay away from drugs. No joke, they'll ruin your day every time" (20). Sanders is focusing on Lavender's corrupt ways in order to convey the
lesson of his death, and he is ironically doing so as he partakes in those very debauched ways himself
Similarly to Cross' approach to dealing with the death of Lavender, Rat Kiley experiences much difficulty and trauma from the death of his friend Curt Lemon and feels partially responsible. Following Lemon's death, Kiley went into the mountains and "came across a baby VC water buffalo [..]He stepped back and shot it through the right front knee[..]Curt Lemon was dead. Rat Kiley had lost his best friend in the world"(78-79). The frustrations of being a soldier in Vietnam and fighting at times for a cause that has no apparent solution causes the men to have questionable judgment. When it comes to upholding the standards they used to abide by when living in a place free of so much animosity and mortality, the soldiers must first overcome the oppressive weight of the war that confuses their moral views.
Moral ambiguity is clear in the short story of "Style" as Henry Dobbins strongly defends a young girl, whom he inflicts immense damage upon, against Azar's ridicule. As the young girl dances through the streets shortly after an ambush upon her hometown, Azar imitates her and says "Probably some weird ritual"(136); however, Dobbins threatens him and makes him stop his nonsense. Dobbins' actions seem quite honorable, yet the irony of the situation lies wherein he was one of the main players in the ambush on the young girl's home, causing her to lose her house and her entire family. The idea of the tenuousness of morality is common in this novel, for the Vietnam war itself is so overbearing and mystifying to these characters that it clouds their minds and their decisions seem to lack real clarity.
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«They all carried ghosts…» «The Things They Carried,» by Tim O'Brien, contains many references to «possessions of character.» Many things Lt. Cross carries were carried by all, including: military equipment, stationery, photographs, diseases, food, the land of Vietnam itself, their lives, and even more. O'Brien highlights these along with special things that Lt. Jimmy Cross carries. He, thus, reveals The things they carried In The Things They Carried, the characters themselves probably could not tell you why they carried many of the things they did. The things they carried can be divided into three basic groups, the things that everyone had to carry in order to survive, the things that individuals chose to carry, and the mental burdens The Things They Carried: Necessities Sample essay topic, essay writing: The Things They Carried: Necessities - 337 words
The Things They Carried: Necessities In The Things They Carried, the characters themselves probably couldnot tell you why they carried many of the things they did. The things theycarried can be divided into three basic groups, the things that everyone had tocarry in Freedom bird «They dreamed of freedom birds. At night, on guard, staring into the dark, they were carried away by jumbo jets. They felt the rush of takeoff. Gone! They yelled. (286). «Freedom bird» an appropriate term for the jumbo jets that take the soldiers from their tour because it gives them the freedom from what has Released From The Grip Of What He Carried: Freedom Birds Sample essay topic, essay writing: Released From The Grip Of What He Carried: Freedom Birds - 1087 words
Released From the Grip of What He Carried: Freedom Birds'They dreamed of freedom birds. At night, on guard, staring into the dark, they were carried away by jumbo jets. They felt the rush of takeoff. Gone! They yelled.
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