The Things They Carried

Thoughts on Courage 11th Grade

Throughout war literature, characters of soldiers are fundamentally exposed. Young men go to war and come out with countless stories and scars from their adventures. For tremendous acts of bravery, some soldiers are presented with awards such as the Distinguished Service Cross and the Medal of Honor. In the book The Thing They Carried, author Tim O’Brien explores the importance of courage. Many of the stories center around a single act of courage or cowardice that determines life or death for a member of the platoon, a civilian, or even a lone Vietnamese soldier. These daring deeds do not necessarily embody bravery in the same sense; nearly all of the stories depict a separate aspect of it. Although the character of Tim O’Brien fails to be brave in some of his anecdotes, he discusses his understanding of audacity and his observations of it in the worlds around him. In The Things They Carried, author Tim O’Brien describes his newfound understanding of courage; it develops with experience and is intertwined with fear of death and the apprehension of shame.

Throughout the stories, Tim O’Brien demonstrates the way he learns that courage grows through experience and preparation throughout the stories. In the beginning of “On the...

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