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Symbolism “The Things They Carried” Essay Sample

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Symbolism “The Things They Carried” Essay Sample

An artistic and poetic movement or style using symbolic images and indirect suggestion to express mystical ideas, emotions, and states of mind.Example: “…hard to find any real emotion. It simply wasn’t there. After that long night in the rain, I’d seemed to grow cold inside, all the illusions gone, all the old ambitions and hopes for myself sucked away into the mud.” “…Unwrap the letters, hold them with the tips of his fingers, and spend the last hour of light pretending. He would imagine romantic camping trips into the White Mountains in New Hampshire. He would sometimes taste the envelope flaps, knowing her tongue had been there.” Function:

The novel The Things They Carried was highly symbolic. The items that the men within the platoon had carried symbolized home and comfort. Each man had a unique item with them in the war that provided them with comfort and reassurance. These physical items carried the men through all of the hardships they endured by giving them a peace of mind and hope of returning to their former lives. From carrying a condom, a comic book, ammunition, the bible, photographs, and many other little material things, these belongings helped the men push on during the war and acted as their own little comfort zone. What O’Brien is trying to convey with the title is that not only did the men carry their 10-pound vest, or their 15-pound M-16 rifles, but they also carried emotions, struggle, and courage. They carried each other, and carried the weight of an entire country on their shoulders.

The materialistic things any man may bring to war can generalize the title, but the meaning goes much deeper than what is actually presented. The men carried much, much more than just items and armor; they carried laughter, joy, anger, optimism, fear, and love. The entire novel can be used itself to symbolize the memories of the lives lost during the Vietnam War. The nightmares, the dreams, and the visions can be symbolized into hope and emotions of anyone lost. The function of symbolism seems to serve as a beacon of hope for anyone. The hope that no one will be harmed, the hope that no man dies today, the hope that Martha will love Cross; symbolism is used as a way of handling true emotions.

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