The Things They Carried
Trauma is a very devastating factor that can occur to people at any point in their life. It is a very harsh and devastating moment in peoples lives that haunt them forever. The most common know form of trauma can be found in soldiers returning from active duty. These soldiers have seen and done things there that no person could ever imagine of. These moments during the war can cause people to lose the sense of innocence in themselves. In The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien, many different themes were emphasized but one stood out, the loss of innocence. People often link innocence to young kids while neglecting that adults can still be innocent. The loss of innocence could be caused by a small mistake early on or the traumatic experiences of war. O’Brien was not prepared for prepared for the tragedies of war. The loss of innocence carries a lot of importance in the book.
Tim O’Brien depicts his life through the war and after he returned from duty. He shows the horror of war and how it affected his life after returning from duty. Being drafted shortly after his graduation, which he was not prepared for, made him think about how he could die in an instant and how he was supposed to kill a person in ‘cold blood’. People who are put through these events at such a young age tend to live through events that they are not ready for, causing them to suffer mentally and physically. "After the chopper took Lavender away, Lieutenant Jimmy Cross led his men into the village of Than Khe. They burned everything. They shot chicken and dogs, they trashed the village well, they called in artillery and watched the wreckage..." (Mahini, 7) Mass destruction can be the worst part of a war, where everything is left to pieces with no life to be seen. This can cause trauma to a person leaving their soul and mind crippled with despair and regret. Watching something this horrible can end a person’s life. Some say that war makes children into men, but it just makes them different. The loss of innocence in these brave men come from the loss they witnessed and the killings they commit.
For a short part in the story O’Brien stated that he wanted to flee to Canada, “At some point in mid-July I began thinking seriously about Canada. The border lay a few hundred miles north, an eight-hour drive. Both my conscience and my instincts were telling me to make a break for it, just take off and run like hell and never stop.” (O’Brien, 28) He thought about fleeing to another country just to avoid going to war but why, he did it to escape the reality that he had to face a responsibility of men. Just by thinking of fleeing might constitute in the loss of the innocence still within him.
The different things that the platoon carried with them like, Jensen’s rabbit foot and Kiowa’s bible represented the idea of life. Since they got drafted at such a young age the idea of death to these men seemed unlikely, they ...