On the second page of the book he tells us what everyone carries and uses repetition. Why does he do this? What truth does reaveal.
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O'Brien likes to study what each man carried with him for its symbolic importance. Whatever extra these men carry means more weight to an already heavy load but still they carry them. Each item is unique to the individual. They mean something special to the soldier. The "things" keep them sane in the confusion of war. O'Brien thinks these objects carry a deeper relevance to who this person is as a human being rather than just a part of the war machine.