The Things They Carried

The Things They Carried

Book - 2010
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This depicts the men of Alpha Company. They battle the enemy (or maybe more the idea of the enemy), and occasionally each other. In their relationships we see their isolation and loneliness, their rage and fear. They miss their families, their girlfriends and buddies; they miss the lives they left back home. Yet they find sympathy and kindness for strangers (the old man who leads them unscathed through the mine field, the girl who grieves while she dances), and love for each other, because in Vietnam they are the only family they have.
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, [2010]
Copyright Date: c1990
ISBN: 9780547391175
054739117X
Branch Call Number: O'BRIEN
Characteristics: 233 pages ; 22 cm

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ArapahoeKati Oct 21, 2016

You will be blown away by this novel and it will challenge you to become a better person and think critically about what a novel can really do.


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d
dsw3914
Oct 31, 2020

Very interesting especially for anyone with any interest in the Vietnam War. I just picked this up without reading about beforehand and did not actually know it was fiction until I read the earlier reviews. I was having a hard time deciding if it was supposed to be fiction, a memoir, or just some short stories based on some true events or else based on some made-up events. Still, I enjoyed reading it.

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myles_wolfe
Oct 14, 2020

This is a work a fiction but it is more than that. I would rate this alongside fictional works like A Quiet on the Western Front. The work is fiction but it is based on something so real and authentic that you forget you are reading fiction. Thoroughly heartbreaking, thought provoking, and challenging. Several stories that are told in the book I had trouble getting through, emotionally. The story about the water-buffalo and the story of a veteran returning are particularly sad.

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gippy011
Jun 26, 2020

The Things They Carried Book Review
The Things They Carried is a novel by Tim O’Brien chronicles the Vietnam War through a realistically fictional perspective. The novel fully immerses the reader in the story of a soldier named Tim and his battalion as they fight against the enemy in the Vietnam War as well as their own personal strifes. One of the novel’s biggest strengths is its willingness to break the bounds of what a war story can be. It seems to have more of an emphasis on the characters and the realness of their emotions regardless if the events happened or not. It goes to such a length to immerse a reader in the war that even they go through the same emotions as these characters throughout the novel. It’s also interesting to see the book try to find it’s own meaning while it’s being written which is unique for a war story where traditionally the book is more straightforward with what it can be. However, some issues include the fact that the novel jumps around a lot and things seem to be all over the place at the start which I suppose was done purposefully to stay true to the often chaotic and confusing Vietnam War so I guess it can be passed off at the beginning. However overall the novel is really well-written with compelling characters and a willingness to do something new and really make the reader think about the effect of the war on those who fought it.

Age Rating: 15-above
4 out of 5 stars

JCLEmmaC Mar 26, 2020

Thought-provoking and an intense read. A must-read, in my opinion, one that will leave an impact.
The novel, The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien allows the reader to identify how the soldiers evolved physically, emotionally, and in their lives to come. The Things They Carried is a collection of stories about the Vietnam War that O’Brien uses to tell his experiences and feelings about the war. The book is filled with stories about the men of Alpha Company and their lives in Vietnam and after. O’Brien talks about the impact the land and the other soldiers had on himself, and the importance of his experience during the war. In The Things They Carried, O’Brien identifies the psychological and physical coping mechanisms that the soldiers created between one another to persevere through the war, and how the experiences affected themselves later in life.

k
KWhite190
Mar 26, 2020

"In war you lose your sense of the definite, hence your sense of truth itself, and therefore it's safe to say that in a true war story nothing is ever absolutely true" (O'Brien, p. 82). This quote is the heart of The Things They Carried, a novel consisting of war stories that O'Brien is not obliged to inform the reader if they are truthful or not. In the end, absolute truth is not what is important. What is important is O'Brien throughout the book trying to work out his own personal truths and the veracity of his experiences during and after the Vietnam War, his grief, and his PTSD.

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green_penguin_484
Sep 10, 2019

*2019* AMAZING BOOK! Readd in AP ELA Class 1st Quarter. This book tells a great story not just of the Vietnam War, but also of the soldiers in the Vietnam war. A few key themes are what true courage is and should look like, innocence to experience / growing up, how soldiers cope with the horrific war, and that writing has purpose / even a few hidden tips on how to write a good story. ***ALSO COMPLETED: Who Owns the Ice House? Eight Life Lessons from an Unlikely Entrepreneur by Clifton Taulbert and Gary Schoeniger.***

e
EljayJohnson
Jul 26, 2019

This is a novel told in the form of short stories that could individually stand alone (and many did, according to the publishing history). O'Brien both tells his stories about his experiences as a "grunt" in the Vietnam War and discusses writing war stories (and even any stories) as cartharsis. He's also interested in how much "truth" there can ever be in writing - does the very process of writing change the experience being written about? That might sound like so much mumbo jumbo, but I found all of it very interesting, although reading the book was a fairly schizophrenic experience as you go from a very powerful story taking place during the war to an intellectual discussion on writing. O'Brien is an extremely gifted writer and as I was reading this, I felt like he was sitting next to me telling me his stories. I've rarely read something that felt so --- "immediate," I guess is the word I'm looking for. So all of that, plus I fell in love with Kiowa. A really great surprise all in all, especially since I had read his "In the Lake of the Woods" several years ago and didn't like it at all.

r
richibi
May 30, 2019

five big, bright, glorious stars for what must be one of the greatest books of the 20th Century, it'll never leave you, don't not read it

j
johnmerton
May 17, 2019

I read "The Things They Carried" soon after it was published, but was eager to hear Bryan Cranston reading it in the digital book format. The combination of reading and writing is absolutely breathtaking. As a would-be nonfiction writer, I especially appreciated O'Brien's discussion about what a "true" war story is and is not. I'm left with thinking that this "novel" is probably the truest reporting of the Vietnam War ever written.

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Gypsy100
Apr 27, 2019

As a Vietnam veteran, I found this book true to form. Although a fictional portrayal, it is very real. O'Brien is an excellent story-teller and very profound. Karl Marlantes Matterhorn should be read along with this book. Both are exceptionally good and moving.

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Quotes

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k
KWhite190
Mar 26, 2020

"I'm young and happy. I'll never die. I'm skimming across the surface of my own history, moving fast, riding the melt beneath the blades, doing loops and spins, and when I take a high leap into the dark and come down thirty years later, I realize it is as Tim trying to save Timmy's life with a story" (p. 246).

r
reginator_22
Jan 25, 2018

“They carried the sky. The whole atmosphere, they carried it, the humidity, the monsoons, the stink of fungus and decay, all of it, they carried gravity.”

c
cknightkc
Sep 19, 2017

“They carried the sky. The whole atmosphere, they carried it, the humidity, the monsoons, the stink of fungus and decay, all of it, they carried gravity.” - p. 14

c
cknightkc
Sep 19, 2017

“A true war story is never moral. It does not instruct, nor encourage virtue, nor suggest models of proper human behavior, nor restrain men from doing the things men have always done. If a story seems moral, do not believe it. If at the end of a war story you feel uplifted, or if you feel that some small bit of rectitude has been salvaged from the larger waste, then you have been made the victim of a very old and terrible lie. There is no rectitude whatsoever. There is no virtue. As a first rule of thumb, therefore, you can tell a true war story by its absolute and uncompromising allegiance to obscenity and evil.” - pp.65-66

c
cknightkc
Sep 19, 2017

“For the common soldier, at least, war has the feel - the spiritual texture - of a great ghostly fog, thick and permanent. There is no clarity. Everything swirls. The old rules are no longer binding, the old truths no longer true. Right spills over into wrong. Order blends into chaos, love into hate, ugliness into beauty, law into anarchy, civility into savory. The vapors suck you in. You can’t tell where you are, or why you’re there, and the only certainty is overwhelming ambiguity.” - p. 78

c
cknightkc
Sep 19, 2017

“For Rat Kiley, I think, facts were formed by sensation, not the other way around, and when you listened to one of his stories, you'd find yourself performing rapid calculations in your head, subtracting superlatives, figuring the square root of an absolute and then multiplying by maybe.” - pp.85-86

c
cknightkc
Sep 19, 2017

"The thing about a story is that you dream it as you tell it, hoping that others might then dream along with you, and in this way memory and imagination and language combine to make spirits in the head. There is the illusion of aliveness.” - p. 218

Notices

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k
KWhite190
Mar 26, 2020

Frightening or Intense Scenes: There are a lot of emotionally intense scenes, characters struggling with PTSD, and scenes during the deaths of major characters.

k
KWhite190
Mar 26, 2020

Violence: This is a war novel, after all.

k
KWhite190
Mar 26, 2020

Coarse Language: All the major curse words are included, especially Sh**.

Age

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KWhite190
Mar 26, 2020

KWhite190 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

j
johnmerton
May 17, 2019

johnmerton thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

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