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The Things They Carried

Author Tim O’Brien’s fictional novel The Things They Carried is a compilation of various interrelated stories that are woven together to reveal not only the apprehensions, fears and horrors surrounding the Vietnam War, but also the personal hardships, loss, heroism and personal victory over a war that will go down in history as the most devastating and controversial.  Although the novel is fiction, O’Brien writes as if from the memory of his own experiences, which adds a much needed element of believability in fictional pieces that involve a non-fiction or real event such as the Vietnam War.

The book report on The Things They Carried capitalizes on the notion that soldiers, in this case those who served in Vietnam, carried with them unique things that would help them through such an incredible challenge.  In the case of Tim O’Brien, and after reading the fourth chapter of the book, “On a Rainy River”, the book report might assume that he carried the memory of an old man he met at the age of 21 on the border of Canada.  The concept of using a character like Elroy on which to attach angelic qualities serves the primary purpose of delivering some sort of point or statement in the novel that could not be conveyed with ordinary or straightforward literary means. A good book report on The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien will examine the many symbols in the short stories.

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