Tim O’Brien “The ThingsThey Carried.” Annotated bibliography
Wright, Jordan. "There`s a Moral Here: Emerging Ethics in TheThings They Carried." (2015).
In this paper, Wright opines that all Vietnamese War veterans weredamaged irreparably during their time of service in that war. Hepoints out that Tim O’Brien analyzes the war and appears to agreewith that mentality. From the novel he particularly focuses on thetheme of race, by examining the character played by Kiowa in thenovel. Because of his native origins, he is discriminated by hisfellow soldiers, but digging further into the story, Kiowa is lovedand respected by the other men, and the experiences in the fieldsduring the war has helped bridge the racial barriers. The Vietnamesewar demanded moral choice from the participating soldiers, and Jordanfinds out that the characters in the story made wrong decisions,because they become desensitized into these acts. He concludes that,despite the dark war, O’Brien still leaves traces of humankindness. It implies that despite being in a war, the soldiers didnot abandon their morality, rather they develop a much broader andbetter perspective of it, which is part and parcel of their roles asmembers of the U.S Army.
His work is paramount in the development of my literacy skills. Hedevelops a thesis and urges it out well about the story. The pointshe uses are very clear and direct from the text this helps me a lotas a writer to read deeper into the texts identifying hiddencharacteristics that need concentration. His interpretation is basedon support from other sources, and this can also be very useful to meas a writer of literature in drawing comparisons.
Based on his credentials as a university student,Wright articulates issues from experience and also from hisintensive digestion of similar works. He justifies his points usingthe novel, showing that he possesses the mastery of the content ofthe book. His arguments are rock solid, for he draws some of theexamples from the real situations and recorded histories based on thebiography of the person writing the novel as in the case of O’Brien.
Weil, Joseph P. "Female Representations in ContemporaryPostmodern War Novels of Spain and the United States: Women as Toolsof Modern Catharsis in the Works of Javier Cercas and Tim O`Brien."(2015).
The author examines the notion of women being used as tools of moderncatharsis by comparing the works of O’Brien and Javier Cercus.Though the two novels originate from different regions, and that eachpersona’s choice of character is different, he evaluates the uniquetreatment of war, verisimilitude, and memory. Applying the feministtheory, he examines the interpretation of the silent characters inthe novel. He tries to bring to light the problems that come whenrepresenting women, as created by the authors who write novels withan egalitarian message of healing deliberately. He points out that,sexism still dominates among the authors who write novels of war, andthat the texts they use for healing are used to misrepresent thefeminine individuals intentionally. They misrepresent women and usemale catharsis as their stylistic elements. In the modern era, theyconsciously attempt to reconcile the past using these war novels, andthey achieve catharsis through the recovery of a memory initiallytraumatized. As the reader is trying to understand the describedtrauma, it inflates catharsis, and he/she expresses pity and sympathyin the process to the affected characters. One of the fundamentalways of making a war novel reparative in this modern era is usingwomen as tools of catharsis.
The thesis of Weil is rather uncommon,and most people do not recognize its importance in the literarytexts. However, the way he develops his thesis is based on carefulexamination of the story written by the author. Using his work, I canbe able to develop a thesis that does not directly point out theestablished them created by the author. Rather, I would focus more,on identifying sub-themes that are building blocks of the majorthemes. It becomes a better way of understanding the work of thatauthor, and it opens up the mind for minor information which mightflip through the minds of other readers.
Weil’s work is identifying a well-educated individual who hasmastery of literature and experience in literacy works. The majorityof readers and reviewers of books such as these are not keen toidentify the building blocks of a major theme in the novel. Weilis exceptional for he has a deeper understanding of literatureand how to interpret stories. His arguments are very subtle, and hebrings them out from the texts citing examples. His arguments becomevalidated by the fact that he justifies whatever he writes, throughcareful examination. Based on his knowledge, his augmentative powersare profound, and they reflect his broad knowledge and experience onsocial issues.
Bonney, Sarah. "Morality and Pleasure in Tim O`Brien`s TheThings They Carried." Criterion: A Journal of Literary Criticism9.1 (2016): 4.
The article examines how the representation of pleasure in O’Brien’snovel establish new codes of morality during their service asmilitary men in Vietnam. According to Sarah, the civilians have abasic understanding of both acceptable and unacceptable behavior inthe society. The soldiers, on the other hand, must carry out immoralacts so as to serve in an honorable manner as expected by their homecountries. Soldiers are constantly carrying out violent acts while inservice, and therefore, they have to come up with the newunderstanding of morality based on their circumstances to ensure thatthey feel the pleasure even as the war continues. Pleasure in war isnot a reward for good behavior or a byproduct of moral living.However, it is a perceived benefit of increased safety and control.The construction of the new moral system and the resultingcorrelation with pleasure with violence becomes redefinedt suit the least harmful means of resolving conflict, and inthe Warfield, violence is a form of conflict resolution, as depictedin the novel.
Bonney introduces the issue of substitution of morality to attainpleasure in circumstances where abiding to morality can be difficult.This aids me a lot in expanding my thinking especially, in furtherunderstanding of O’Brien’s novel. Here soldiers at Vietnamese warindicate that morality was not a choice for survival in thebattlefield. This gives me a wider perspective in the interpretationof the novel as well as understanding the social dilemmas in thesociety.
Bonney is a sociologist who knows the moral dimensions of thesociety. To a lay person, the acts of the soldiers in the battlefieldseem ruthless and unjustifiable, but she goes ahead and explains thereasons behind their actions based on O’Brian’s novel. Moralitysometimes is an option, especially on the battlefield. This is anotion we can get from her works. She carefully examines every pieceof the novel and ties it together to bring out the plight ofsoldiers. She argues out that, in as much as soldiers envy the lifeof the civilians, their duty does not permit them to conform tomorality, and therefore they decide to find pleasurable things thatcan make them cope better with circumstances.
Ferguson,Lisa. "“Dumb Coozes” And Damaged Men: Female Stereotypes,Male Victimization, And Manipulative Narration in The Things TheyCarried and In The Lake Of The Woods." Journal of Research InGender Studies 6.1 (2016): 76-120.
Inthis study, Ferguson proposes that what sustained the relationshipswith the American War soldiers in Vietnam was the resentment they hadtowards women, especially the American women during the conflict andmuch later after the war ended. Tom O’Brien illustrates in hisnovel that what makes the male soldiers bond to their colleagues waspowered by the rejection they had towards their lover or girlfriend.This is firmly illustrated and repeatedly appears in characters inthe representation of the American Woman, especially during the fullnarration of the Vietnam War. The character, Jimmy Cross is depictedas a victim of their lover’s lack of sympathy towards them and alsothe trauma they are going through. The destructive effect of theunsympathetic woman has emphasized in this research and the effect ithas on the soldier in the process especially regarding his stabilityand masculinity. It depicts the inappropriate merging of the love andthe violence that emerges due to woman’s rejection. O’Brien triesto put it in his readers by manipulating them through coercivenarration that, the excuse of his character’s behavior was due tothe failure of the lover/girlfriend to understand the war. He alsotries to bring out the notion that the women insensitive, and henceare to blame for the soldier’s bad acts after the war.
Thisstudy by Lisa Ferguson is an important argument especially in thesocial aspects of pre- and post-soldier relationships women have withwar soldiers. Her thesis brings out both sides of the argument, butshe finally settles for the fact that the experience of war cantransform a man’s character. Her thesis is well developed and urgedout in a very articulate manner. Examining and studying her workhelps me, in critical evaluation of arguments before jumping into aconclusion.
Fergusonhas a deep understanding of gender roles, military policies,victimology and studies in violence and power. Her knowledge of thesedisciplines helps her on how to develop arguments based on thecontext of the author. O’Brien’s novel is pretty easy tounderstand and to pick up various themes. But urging them out the wayshe puts it can be challenging. It requires an experienced mind tohave a clear understanding of this issue.