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The Things They Carried- Tim O'Brian

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by

Caitlin Bird

on 13 September 2013

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Transcript of The Things They Carried- Tim O'Brian

The Things They Carried- Tim O'Brien
The violence and brutality of war, has a lasting and corrupting effect on everyone involved.
Who counts as truly corrupt
in The Things They Carried?
All of them.
"War is

hell
... war is also

mystery

and

terror
... War makes you a

man;
war makes you
dead
.” Tim O'Brien

Mary Anne?
Azar?
Tim?
Ted Lavender?
Rat Kiley?
Jimmy Cross?
Norman Bowker?
Dave Jenson?
Each character was affected in their own
ways,
be it shown in acts of,
emotional breakdowns,
Violence
drugs,
fragile mental states,
and
isolation,
"Ted Lavender adopting an orphan puppy - feeding it from a plastic spoon and carrying it around... until the day Azar strapped it to a Claymore antipersonnel mine and
pulled the trigger."
Tim O'Brien
Azar's corruption was that of disrespect and cruelty. The war made him brutal, the war made him a "man".
Azar is depicted as
and , torturing civilians and making fun of the dead of both the Vietnamese and the Americans.
mean

spirited
cruel
No one in the platoon respected Azar for his cruelty, he is the only one that helped main character Tim in the lowest morally wrong doing he committed. Tim pulls out during the cruel prank, but Azar continues, taunting and kicking Tim for being "weak". Azar is portrayed as the most brutal, cruel and nasty character in The Things They Carried.
Does Azar show any remorse for the things he says and does?
Azar is only ever shown to be sorry once throughout the whole text, when he is sorry for trying to joke about his fellow soldier Kiowa's death.
"Biting the dirt, so to speak."
"Wasted in the waste."
one more Redskin bites the dirt"
"Like those old cowboy movies
,
"He'd just laugh,
eating shit"
"world class irony!"
"Classic."
Azar moved away from Kiowa's body looking pale,
"Listen, those dumb jokes - I didn't mean anything... I felt guilty."
This is the first time Azar shows any remorse throughout The Things They Carried.
Are his acts of cruelty and violence a reasonable excuse in response to what he witnessed throughout the Vietnam War?
What about Mary Anne's corruption?
Mary Anne - a soldiers sweetheart, is flown in to her boyfriend in Vietnam. She quickly became accustomed to life in Vietnam, learning to cook and speak the language. She cuts her hair short and refuses to go home. Soon she joins night ambushes with the intimidating Green Berets, after a few nights of this she disappears. She returns after three weeks, and is seen going into the Green Berets hut, ignoring the American soldiers.
Her boyfriend and Rat Kiley burst into the hut where tribal music is playing along with lit candles. A leopard's head is impaled on a post with it's flesh hanging from the rafters. Mary Anne is singing, now wearing her American clothing and wearing a
necklace made of human tongues
"She had crossed to the other side and had became part of the land"
Tim O'Brien
"I know what you think, but it's not... it's not bad"
- Mary Anne
"Do something,"
Mark Fossie
whispered...
"man, you must be deaf.
she's already gone"
"I can't just let her go like that."
Rat Kiley
"Seventeen years old, blonde and innocent, but then weren't they all?"
Mary Anne was described to have lifeless eyes, no emotion, utterly flat and indifferent when she is found by her boyfriend.
Vietnam changed Mary Anne, she wanted to be part of the culture and the country itself. "I'm full of electricity... I'm on fire."
Mary Anne took
in
joy
killing
civilians.
It is quickly shown that
Did the war itself make Mary Anne corrupt?

Mary Anne chose to go to Vietnam to be with her boyfriend Mark Fossie. She at first was described as having a bubbly personality, very friendly, and a happy smile. She was an attractive girl.
Mary Anne started to help the medics, she seemed fascinated by it. She learnt how to clip an artery, pump up a plastic splint and shoot morphine. She became excited by the weaponry.
But what changed?
Mary Anne came from a normal upbringing, middle class nice family in a small town. She expected to some day marry Mark Fossie, live in a nice house by the lake and have three blonde babies and grow old with her husband. Vietnam broadened her horizon and showed her there was more to the world.
When Mary Anne started going on night ambushes and spending time with the Greenies, she slowly but surely became corrupt. She took pleasure in killing, took death wish chances that even the Greenies wouldn't take. They said she would often smile as the tracer rounds snapped by, she was lost inside herself.
"Vietnam had the effect of a powerful drug; that mix of unnamed and unnamed that comes as the needle slips in and you know you're risking something"
Tim O'Brien
terror
pleasure
In Mary Anne's case, the Vietnam war had a lasting and corrupting effect on her. Her involvement in going out with the Greenies caused her to become dangerous and violent, ultimately making her corrupt in the form of killing.
This next video is one involving that of Napalm, some images may be disturbing. This video shows the reality of War.
WARNING
Norman Bowker
Norman Bowker almost won the Silver Star for Valour, had he been able to save his fellow soldier Kiowa from sinking in the field of mud and dying.
No one blamed Norman for this, yet he himself thought he did wrong and he thought that Kiowa's death was his fault.
Full transcript