Fantasy and Reality in Tim O'Brien's "The Things They Carried" Book Review by scribbler

Fantasy and Reality in Tim O'Brien's "The Things They Carried"
An analysis of the link between fantasy and reality in Tim O'Brien's story, "The Things They Carried".
# 153251 | 1,318 words | 2 sources | MLA | 2013 | US
Published on May 09, 2013 in Literature (American)

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The paper describes how Tim O'Brien in "The Things They Carried" lists both the physical things the soldiers carry, as well as the emotional things that include memories, fear, hope, and anxiety. The paper focuses on the character of Lieutenant Jimmy Cross and demonstrates how he shows the reader the clear marker between what is real and what is fantasy and how fantasy can affect the real. The paper discusses how Cross loses a man from his unit because of his inability to let go of his fantasy of Martha, the girl he loved, and when Cross burned Martha's letters and photographs, he is letting go of the emotional hold that they have over him and his ability to be a good leader.

From the Paper:

"As the narrator, O'Brien lists all of the things that each company member carries with him, the reader begins to see a bit about each man from the things that he carries. Most of them are described as physical objects and O'Brien gives each character a real life by describing what they carry and what is deemed as important to them. We learn that some are superstitious, some are in love, and some are deeply afraid of what lies ahead of them. While carrying a pebble from a girl as a good luck charm might be important to one - as it is to Cross, Henry Dobbins likes to carry canned peaches over a pound cake (extra special rations for the big man that he is). Cross carries Martha's, the girl he loves, letters with him at all times, the pebble stuck inside his mouth as a good luck charm, just in case.
"Martha ends her letters with the words "Love, Martha" on the letters, but Cross is deeply aware that this is just a formality for Martha; she doesn't love him the way that he loves her. It is the hope of her love once he returns that keeps him going each day, but it is also this hope that keeps him from being present in reality, which will turn out to be a devastating thing. It is the memories of her that keep him marching on through the rain and the emptiness of war."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • O'Brien, Tim. The Things They Carried. Mariner Books; 1st edition, 2009. Print.
  • Voegele, Jason. "Essays on The Things They Carried." Web. Accessed on March 6, 2011:

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