The Things They Carried

Discus the roles of remebering and of telling stories and provide examples from the stories you have read in The Things They Carried?

Tim OBrien talks about the role of remembering and the role of stroies in the last paragraph of " spin".

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“Spin,” with its unconnected anecdotes delivered in scattered phrases and half-realized memories, stylistically echoes the fragmentation of the war experience. Like the anecdotes in “The Things They Carried,” the anecdotes here are static and seemingly unrelated. They jump in time, purpose, and magnitude in the same way that a soldier’s mind might jump around his past. In this story, it becomes clear to us that all the stories O’Brien is telling originate from his memory. A shift in tone accompanies the fragmentation; O’Brien transitions from a balanced to a disillusioned evaluation of the war. He argues that the war is unlike Dobbins and Bowker’s well-ordered, rational games of checkers. The war has neither rules nor winners, and men witness horrific acts juxtaposed with random acts of kindness.

“Spin” is like a map of the uncharted territory of war for readers who have never experienced it. The story allows us to feel the boredom of war by describing the things that happen when nothing is happening: jibes, songs, stomachaches, and despair. It also addresses the way men choose to deal with fright, uncertainty, and devastation. Unable to cope with stress, Azar brutally kills Ted Lavender’s adopted puppy and uses his immaturity and youth as an excuse for his actions. O’Brien’s decision not to explain or elaborate on this event conveys the message that sometimes the facts in a true war story need no further commentary.

Although the plot of “Spin” is not complicated, the story establishes the identities of the characters who appear throughout The Things They Carried. We encounter most of the main characters in the title story, but we find out more about them here. We see the immature inhumanity of Azar, the philosophical even-headedness of Kiowa, and the dimness of Norman Bowker, and each character becomes more rounded and real with the revelation of a new detail. One way that “Spin” develops characters is by describing the inner conflicts that define them throughout The Things They Carried. O’Brien revisits, throughout the work, such elements as Ted Lavender’s tranquilizer abuse, Curt Lemon’s death, and his own killing of a Vietnamese man, and with each new look at a given event we gain added perspective on the characters involved.