Support Live Chat
Nov 8, 2017 in Literature
The Things People Carry in Their Lives
The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien
The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien inspired me to certain reflections. First, I thought about burdens people carry in their life. The way people live is, in fact, many-sided. Every person combines three persons: the one whom he or she believes to be; the one whom other people think he or she is; and the one whom he or she really is. Nevertheless, most people prefer to live in an outward, surface way. They pretend that they have everything under their control, that everything is ok. Behind this facade, something different is hidden. People try to make a good impression on other people. In order to do this, they all wear some masks. Generally, these masks are supposed to demonstrate that the ones who wear them are strong, having no problems, successful, and able to achieve anything they want. That was exactly the mask the soldiers wore in this story:
Awkwardly, the men would reassemble themselves, first in private, then in groups, becoming soldiers again. They would repair the leaks in their eyes. They would check for casualties, call in dust-offs, light cigarettes, try to smile, clear their throats and spit and begin cleaning their weapons. […] Some carried themselves with a sort of wistful resignation, others with pride or stiff soldierly discipline or good humor or macho zeal. They were afraid of dying but they were even more afraid to show it. They found jokes to tell.
Behind the scenes, the soldiers like the majority of people carried different kinds of burden. For some of them, it was shameful memories; some of them had twinges of conscience, the others carried fear. It may seem awkward, but for some people, the burden is their own life.We usually do not think over such things, but such people live near us and that is the way their world exists.There are many people in society who have never taken part in warfare. Nevertheless, they consider their life to be a war, and they carry the burden of being alive.
The old people are the first example. Due to high quality of life and medicine in Hong Kong, people have all the conditions to enjoy their lives. China and Japan are famous for their long-livers. The interesting fact is that many people consider it to be the result of drinking green tea. Still, there are people who do not want to live longer than others. The life of people who retire is different. By that time, they usually have adult children, and they have already grandchildren. However, their children care about their own life, about getting a good job, raising their children. They do not have time to spend with their parents.Meanwhile, old people who stop working become deprived of simple human communication. Of course, there are always some friends whom they can talk to, but if the person lives a long life, he or she often outlives his or her friends. In one’s old age, the situation worsens by the number of diseases. These are diseases which make old people think of their life as a burden. It is a burden for their children and relatives in the first place. Old people feel guilty about this – they do not want to complicate somebody’s life. Also, they think it is unfair. It is difficult to find justice in others when they perceive you as dead while you are still alive. This kind of feeling is shown in the short story of Tim O'Brien:
Afterward, when the firing ended, they would blink and peek up. They would touch their bodies, feeling shame, then quickly hiding it. They would force themselves to stand. As if in slow motion, frame by frame, the world would take on the old logic-absolute silence, then the wind, then sunlight, then voices. It was the burden of being alive.
The other people for whom it is a burden to be alive are those diagnosed with AIDS. They consider their life as a burden, because they know that they will die sooner or later. They lose colors of life and stop seeing a sense in it. One friend of mine works in an AIDS rehab center.He helps such people to go through this and to move on. He had been telling me many stories about totally frustrated people whom he is dealing with. Some of them even get ready to commit suicide; they believe their death is just a matter of time. And the worst is that they stop dreaming.
It is the second thing I reflected on – the place of dream in our life. We can see Lieutenant Jimmy Cross in this short story. He is just a young boy who felt in love with a girl named Martha.In spite of the war, he lives in his imaginary world: in his memories and fantasies of his beloved.
Tim O'Brien describes it in several paragraphs: “His mind wandered. He had difficulty keeping his attention on the war. On occasion he would yell at his men to spread out the column, to keep their eyes open, but then he would slip away into daydreams, just pretending, walking barefoot along the Jersey shore, with Martha, carrying nothing.” Another thrilling example is:
Lieutenant Cross gazed at the tunnel. But he was not there. He was buried with Martha under the white sand at the Jersey shore. They were pressed together, and the pebble in his mouth was her tongue. He was smiling. Vaguely, he was aware of how quiet the day was; the sullen paddies, yet he could not bring himself to worry about matters of security. He was beyond that. He was just a kid at war, in love.
In the wartime, these thoughts rescued him from reality inducinghim to move on and dream about an airplane that would take him to Martha one day. No wonder, the boy accepted such thoughts – he was young and came to the war just to avoid the blush of dishonor. His life just began, and he felt that he left many things unfinished at home. He often thought about the things he should have done but he had not. It was a kind of silent reproach for him. He regretted a lot: “Right then, he thought, he should've done something brave. He should've carried her up the stairs to her room and tied her to the bed and touched that left knee all night long. He should've risked it. Whenever he looked at the photographs, he thought of new things he should've done.”
He paid a high price for this kind of thoughts. He lost one of his soldiers, and he blamed himself for that. He believed that the death was caused by his infatuation with the girl andcarelessness. He could not forgive himself for that; therefore, he decided to burn all her letters and photographs. Finally, he quitted even to think of her justifying his actionsthat his obligation was not to be loved but to lead. Probably, in the wartime,imagination was a killer, but in real life, dreams help people to live.I know it from my own experience and from experience of other people. If we take a look at lives of famous people, we will see that all of them reached their dream, because they continued to dream.Even in bad times, this dream led them forward.
An interesting moment is mentioned in this story concerning the soldiers’ dreams:
They dreamed of freedom birds. At night, on guard, staring into the dark, they were carried away by jumbo jets. They felt the rush of takeoff. […] They were flying. The weights fell off; there was nothing to bear. […] They were light and free-it was all lightness, bright and fast and buoyant, light as light, a helium buzz in the brain, a giddy bubbling in the lungs as they were taken up over the Clouds and the war, beyond duty, beyond gravity and mortification anti global entanglements - Sin loi! […] It was flight, a kind of fleeing, a kind of falling, falling higher and higher, spinning off the edge of the earth and beyond the sun and through the vast, silent vacuum where there were no burdens and where everything weighed exactly nothing. Gone! they screamed, I'm sorry but I'm gone! And so at night, not quite dreaming, they gave themselves over to lightness, they were carried, they were purely borne.
To my mind, people need dreams so that they won’t give up or treat their lives as a burden. That is why the character I liked most in this story was a soldier named Kiowa. He was the only character who did not feel guilty for being alive. Instead, he was pleased with it. He liked the smell of the New Testament, and enjoyed listening to the sounds of night. He could enjoy even his fatigue. So, he carried his experience with pleasure no matter what. And he also dreamt of freedom birds.
He` s kind of example to me. Dreams help me in my life, they inspire me. The things that I carry are my family and my future. So my dream is to get a good job and make my parents proud of me. I am lucky that I am able to do it. Those soldiers who took part in the Vietnam War didn’t have such opportunity. All they had were the things they carried, their memories, their hopes and their dreams. After reading this short story I understood that people decide how to treat their life by their own. Some of them hope for the better and keep of dreaming no matter what. Some of them consider their life a burden and give up. I am optimistic as to my future and hope my dreams will come true one day.
- A Jury of Her Peers
- The Pocahontas Story
- The Epic of Gilgamesh and Genesis
- Oedipus the King
- Langston Hughes and His Poem
Customer`s comment 10 days ago
Big thanks to your writing team for coming through for me with my last order. I didn’t give them a lot of notice, but they were able to come up with a superb paper for me. This is the kind of service that I love. Sometimes, I get forgetful, and I forget when my paper due dates are. It is so comforting to know that I can be in a rush and contact Essays-Writer.net and that you will deliver a great paper for me, no matter what. The fact that you include an anti-plagiarism report is great, too. I appreciate knowing that my work is totally original. Essays-Writer.net rocks!
Customer`s comment 22 days ago
Your writers are masters at time management. I turned in an order for four very difficult papers, and they were all written perfectly, even with the short deadline notice. Thanks, Essays-Writer.net!
Customer`s comment 25 days ago
Your writing company delivers for me every time. I have never been disappointed.
Customer`s comment 20 days ago
I was happy with the two essays that your writers did for me. Even though the subject matter was quite dense, they managed to come up with high quality work. This has been my experience with Essays-Writer.net, over the long haul. Each and every time I have needed a high quality paper, you have come through with outstanding writing examples for me. I am pleased to recommend your writing service to my friends and colleagues.
Customer`s comment 10 days ago
The work I received from your writers was much better than expected, especially considering the affordability of your services! This is so impressive! I wasn’t aware, previously, that companies like Essays-Writer.net even existed, but then again, I’m pretty sure you are the only one that is this good. I have heard a lot of bad things about other writing companies, but never a negative word about Essays-Writer.net. You are reputed as being the best, and I, for one, am convinced that this is true.Thank you for the outstanding job you did on my essay and research papers.
Customer`s comment 12 days ago
Thank you for the great paper! My professor gave me a high mark for it.
Customer`s comment 1 days ago
As always, your writers have completed another impressive paper. This time, the subject matter required a lot of research. They not only completed the research. They also documented it absolutely perfectly. It would have taken me months to write a paper this thorough and of this high quality. Thank you so much for your diligence. It was greatly appreciated.
Customer`s comment 6 days ago
I find your writing service to be staffed with serious professionals who understand the urgency of turning out great writing for your customers. I have ordered papers from you for a year and a half now, and each time, I have been given superb papers that were error free and interesting to read. I truly appreciate your efforts, and hope to continue to do business with you from this point forward. You deserve my loyalty, because you are certainly loyal to your customers! Wishing you all the best.
Customer`s comment 19 days ago
Once again, I have sat down at my computer, because I feel I owe you big thanks. There is just no way to express how grateful I am for everything you did to make my research paper as good as it was. My professor gave me an A+ on it, which is the first A+ I have received during my entire college career.
Customer`s comment 4 days ago
Now I know where to go when I need an excellent paper written on a short notice. I am very happy with the paper your writers just produced for me. It was absolutely perfect. Please thank the ones who handled my order and let them know that I will definitely do business with Essays-Writer.net again.
Customer`s comment 10 days ago
Dear Writers #0019, Thank you for taking such a good care of me. I apologize for being as picky as I was, but I was only reflecting the professor’s requirements. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I got my grades back. He gave me an A+ on the paper, which is almost unheard. The paper you produced for me included each and every thing that the professor had required. He is notorious for giving us next-to-impossible tasks to perform in his class, but you managed to pull it off. I don’t know if any other student has received an A+ in this guy’s class, but he simply could not find a single thing wrong with my paper! Yay! Thanks so much.
Customer`s comment 19 days ago
My professor told me that the essay you wrote for me was the best one in the whole class! Thanks for doing such a good job. Compliments from this professor are rare!
Customer`s comment 5 days ago
Dear Essays-Writer.net, You handled my rush order beautifully. I am still amazed by the quality of the term paper, because your writers didn’t have a whole lot of time to write it. Still, they did a great job and I’m happy that I chose Essays-Writer.net. Thank you for taking care of this in such an eloquent way.
Customer`s comment 29 days ago
Dear Madam or Sir, Thank you for your competence and high standards. My paper was wonderful! I shall recommend your writing services highly. You are far and above better than other writing services that I have used. Your professionalism, attention to detail, high quality writing and great prices are a few of the reasons why I will never use any other writing service. Thanks again.
Customer`s comment 29 days ago
I am getting ready to graduate in another week, but had to take a minute to jot this line because I want you to know what a help your writing service has been to me, especially during my junior and senior years. The work has been hard, and I have had to study virtually all the time. With you helping me out with my more challenging writing projects, I have been able to move forward and do well on my tests and other school projects. I will be forever grateful to you for your help, and I wish you continued success with your fantastic writing service. All the best!