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The Things They Carried


The Things They Carried - Summary


"The Things They Carried" by Tim O'Brien is a profound exploration of the Vietnam War, narrated through the experiences of soldiers. The book delves into the physical and emotional burdens carried by these men, offering a poignant insight into their lives during the war.


  • Burden and Necessity: The story vividly describes the various items the soldiers carry, symbolizing not just their survival needs but also their emotional and psychological burdens.
  • War and Emotion: O'Brien intricately weaves emotions into the narrative, highlighting the soldiers' fears, hopes, and connections to their lives back home.


  • Lieutenant Jimmy Cross: Central to the narrative, Cross carries letters from a girl named Martha, symbolizing unrequited love and the escapism from the harsh realities of war.

Narrative Style

The book's narrative is fragmented, reflecting the chaotic nature of war. Each section focuses on different soldiers, their thoughts, and the items they carry, creating a tapestry of war experiences.


"The Things They Carried" is more than a war story; it's a compelling account of human emotion and survival under the most extreme conditions. It's a testament to the complexities of the human spirit in times of conflict.