Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Things They Carried

Post your response to the end of the book as a COMMENT.

21 comments:

Zach Duray said...

Overall, this was a really good book. The way O'Brien changed the immediate idea of the story at the end by switching over to his experiences with Linda was an interesting approach to his main message. The idea is that some of the emotions carried by human beings (guilt, remorse, pity, sorrow, fear, sympathy) are carried by everyone, not just soldiers. The scenes with Linda help the reader understand this.

JenniferLee said...

I really enjoyed this book. I liked how O'Brien wrote the story in such a way that allows the readers to focus on other things than just "war." The "carrying of" tangible and intangible objects was a very interesting concept that O'Brien wrote of. His idea of "happening-truth" and "story-truth" was really well explained. He repeated what the idea that his stories aren't true but said things like "this is true" and added real information (like his other books) to confuse the reader. This allows the reader to not focus on what is true and what is false but focus on just the real emotions of it all. I feel like O'Brien uses many good literary skills to allow the reader to perceive the book in certain ways. I really enjoyed his writing style.

John K said...

Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried was overall a pretty good book. I think that O'Brien conveys the terrible nature of war well, emphasizing the youth of the combatants and their inability to cope with the gravity of their situation. Also, I liked how O'Brien's book could be related to the quote from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest: "It's true even if it didn't happen." From O'Brien's perspective, a true war story need not be nonfiction. The stories he tells accurately reveal his emotions and create an outlet through which he can more easily get his message across. The final chapter with Linda was very interesting; O'Brien affirms that storytelling and imagination can bring the dead back to life, so to speak.

Donald Magnani said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
corilin said...

Throughout this year I have been slightly skeptical about our interpretations of the author's intentions. Like when we analyze the tone, diction and syntax, I feel as though we are half making up our interpretations and they are not the author's intent in the least. However, while reading The Things They Carried I entirely agreed with all the analysis we discussed in class. Contrary to most of my classmates beliefs, I enjoyed the brutally honest narration of Tim O'Brian, and felt as though I was drawn closer into the book because of his revelations and lies. I enjoyed the tone, organization and writing style of this book, and have already told three people to read it. Junior year favorite.

Amber P. said...

I love the honest tone O'Brien has. He's straight with us, and doesn't have any hidden agendas. The themes in this book about love, guilt, revenge, fear, and coping really hit home with me, and i'm sure can relate to any audience. I really liked the Linda chapter because it really brought the book in full circle. It showed the readers that anyone could learn from these stories, whether they were involved in a war or not. My grandpa's a veteran and i'm making him a long with the rest of my family read it. Everytime i started reading the book i had to force myself to stop. Definitley on my top five favorite books list.

Ricky O. said...

I would definitely say this is my favorite book we've read so far this year. I like most the way O'Brien seems to blend three different stories. First, he tells a war story but then a love story, and then he mixes all that into instructions on how to write. I also enjoy guessing which evens the author fabricated and which ones really occured. In the end though, I think his goal was to force the reader to accept all the messages as true, even if the events behind them never took place.

amandak. said...

The Things They Carried is a powerful and emotional book that I found to be very enlightening. I really liked this book because of all the description and truth that O'Brien included. I also enjoyed the lessons that he taught me through this book such as accepting his stories as truth even if they didn't happen and learning how to cope with death by letting go of undeserved guilt. Looking back on O'Brien's writing, I can see the beauty and passion that he wrote into this novel about a murderous and devastating war.

mercedes =) said...

I enjoyed O'Brien's novel and the message he presented. I liked the way O'Brien intertwined fictional stories and an actual event. It was also interesting how he revealed that the stories he wrote about were fictional throughout the book. By revealing this truth O'Brien created a strong impact and focus for the me. I was able to understand the emotion behind the war and the characters that O'Brien was trying to unravel. Although the stories he told were fictional, it didn't change the fact that the war effected many. I loved the honesty in O'Brien's voice and how he revealed that the stories he told did not actually happen. This was definitely a different read but I found the book rather interesting and engaging. His book revealed a lot about the truth and how it can be discovered in any way regardless it be fiction or not.

Sidenote: CONGRATULATIONS MR. AND MRS. GERBER AND BABY GERBER =)

Dani O. said...

This was by far the best book I've ever read for a school assignment. I loved how this wasn't the traditional war story and how it showed that war has so many more aspects than just the actual battles. It showed what was going through the soldiers' heads as well how they dealth with everything Vietnam threw at them. It showed a completely different side of war that I am not used to seeing, which is why the story was so intriguing.

Jane Danstrom said...

I truly enjoyed this book. I think that it is an important view into the lives of Vietnam soldiers, and the telling of it is so powerful that by the end of the book, I was beyond caring whether or not any of it was true. I think that that is one of the things I will carry with me - this idea that even though things didn't actually happen in the way they are described, they are still important in understanding human life and getting the most out of everything situation. O'Brien does an amazing job of telling stories, especially with the last chapter. The way he switches from Linda's story to war story makes his tale of death and acceptance all the more poignant. Seriously. Favorite book of the year.

Haley Schwartz said...

welcome to the world smudge!!
haha, congrats on the baby mrs.gerber.

This book is my favorite one we've read thus far. After having had time to reflect and ponder the book for a bit, I keep finding myself returning to truth theme. At first when I figured out that this was a fiction book, I was a little upset because I wanted the stories to be true but life's a fact and after having read the entire book I'm glad he changed some things. I think what Jane touched on in class today is a great point, that by changing things he makes the stories more important because fabricating the truth was used as a vehicle to get the reader to understand how O'Brien felt, because that's the important part. I keep thinking about the fabrication & fictionalization of stories I've heard, or told and why they were changed and how memories are fabricated just like stories are.

Kristine Werling said...

Overall, I also really enjoyed reading this book. I liked how O’Brien would mix in nonfiction truth with “true enough” truth. I wasn’t one to pick through the book trying to decide which event fit under each category since I didn’t think that mattered, but I was really interested in this idea of writing stories to keep the dead souls living and to express true feelings, but necessarily total true facts. This method of writing makes me want to give it a shot, and I really like books that expand my horizons in writing, as was the case with this book. Besides that, like many other people, I also liked how the author shifted the focus at the end of the book to talk about Linda. I thought this showed how we all carry burdens in our lives, and these stories don’t only apply to the war. All in all, I definitely enjoyed reading this book.

Kristine Werling said...

oh i forgot,
Congratulations Mrs. Gerber!

Dan Szmurlo said...

This was my favorite book of junior year, so far. I loved how O'Brien educated the readers on two different things. He described the experiances the soldiers had over in Vietnam, which were fascinating by themselves. But he also proved to us the power of storytelling to immortalize something or display one's feelings. At the beginning of the book, when he revealed a story to be fiction for the first time, I felt cheated. But, as the story progressed, I started to see how the "happening truth" sometimes doesn't give the reader a sufficient idea of what the soldiers felt inside. I learned from this book the real purpose of fiction.

Lauren Z said...

First of all CONGRATULATIONS MRS. GERBER!!!Much happiness to you and your family!

Anyway, I really loved this novel. I found O'Brien's tangent-filled writing style refreshing because I felt it paralleled a soldier's reoccurring terror in his or her dreams and the little things in day-to-day life that triggered emotions and flashbacks to the war. The whole theme of "carrying burdens" is such a universal topic in which I appreciated for some reflection and self-analyzation. That is what I love about the novel, even if you haven't been to war everyone holds on to a part of their past and it becomes a crucial part of thier never-ending story. This story, O'Brien's has emphasized, should be told in order to keep a soul alive.

Emma H said...

I really enjoyed reading this book and loved O'Brien's writing style. I thought that the book was very insightful. I like how he talks about the feelings and meaning behind the war stories. He makes us feel what the solider's feel and how they cope with their hardships. I enjoyed reading a book about Vietnam and knowing how the solider's felt in war and after the war. O'Brien wrote a book that fully captures the feelings of war and the things, not just the solider's carry, but the things every carries throughout their lives. I definitely think that this is the best book I have read for school.

P.S. Congrats Mrs. Gerber!!

Reagan said...

The Things They Carried is such a good novel that I'm forcing both my sisters to read it as well as one of my friends. The "gut feeling" truth adds a whole new dimension to stories. It makes the distinguishing line between fiction and reality a lot less prominant. The very dynamic characters and O'Briens intruiging self analysis sparked a lot of thought as a reader not only about the war but about life, relationships, and human nature. Class discussions were a lot less brutal becuase we focused on characters and human impact rather than insignificant and also far fetched comments spawned from solely diction and syntax.

Blaire L said...

I really liked this book. At first I found it confusing to read, but as the book went on, I started to like the unconventional way the book was written. I think O'Brien focus on "truth" was about true emotions, not necessarily true accounts of the war. This way, he was able to reach readers who have no knowledge about what soldiers went through in Vietnam. Another reason why I liked the book was because O'Brien did not glorify war. First off, I am opposed to war. But secondly, I don't think certain scenes, like when O'Brien killed a man, would have anywhere near the compelling emotions it does had O'Brien been happy or proud for killing someone. Overall, I enjoyed reading this book and O'Brien's different style of writing

Yena Hong said...

I thought this book was very well-written, and overall enjoyable to read.
O'Brien's writing style was fascinating and although he was going back and forth between the past and present,
the novel flowed very well and it was easy to understand.
It was interesting to read about the different reactions and feelings of Vietnam soldiers and the theme of 'truth' was also quite compelling.

Arjun Puranik said...

I liked The Things They Carried as a book. O'Brien successfully conveys a fictional and true interpretation of his experiences as a soldier in Vietnam. While at first I thought the fact that his stories were technically fiction was not legitimate, O'Brien's own writing in the book about his storytelling makes the whole concept more effective. O'Brien conveys some very affecting and true ideas about Vietnam in a book that was overall understandable easy to read. I liked how O'Brien switched between 3rd person narration about the war and 1st person about himself (his persona) in war and at 43 years old. The book focused on the psychological, emotional, and mental situations of the soldiers which I thought was very effective. Overall, a good book for me.