The Things They Carried Plot Summary


Tim O’Brien’s 1990 The Things They Carried is a collection of stories from the Vietnam War. The book’s’ title not only stands for the physical things a soldier must carry, but it also represents the emotional baggage they all carry inside. After a “grunt,” or a low ranking soldier, named Ted Lavender is shot, the leader of the squad, Jimmy Cross takes the blame. This is so because he constantly been distracted by a girl he loves named Martha, which has made him become mentally uninvolved in the war. In a later chapter titled “On the Rainy RIver,” the narrator, Tim O’Brien, explains the events leading him to Vietnam. When he got his draft notice he instantly thought about running away to Canada. After spending 6 days on the border and having an emotional breakdown, he returns home and goes to the war because he fears the disappointment from his…

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