Monday, January 30, 2012
The Things They Carried
My favorite chapter of this novel is the beginning chapter, "The Things They Carried". This chapter has such an impact and really draws in the reader. It sets the standards for the following chapters, and gives the readers a taste of what the rest of the book is about. In this chapter, O'Brien not only describes the physical artifacts that the soldiers carried with them, but he also describes the emotional feelings that they carry with them. A favorite quote from this chapter is on page 21. O'Brien writes, "They carried all the emotional baggage of men who might die. Grief, terror, love, longing--these were intangibles, but the intangibles had their own mass and specific gravity, they had tangible weight. They carries shameful memories. They carried the common secret of cowardice barely restrained, the instinct to run or freeze or hide, and in many respects this was the heaviest burden of all, for it could never be put down, it required perfect balance and perfect posture. They carried their reputations. They carried the soldier's greatest fear, which was the fear of blushing" (O'Brien 21).