The Things They Carried


Tim O’Brien

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The Man O'Brien Killed

The young man that Tim O'Brien killed on a trail outside of My Khe is a recurring symbol throughout The Things They Carried, as O'Brien struggles to deal with being responsible for the death… (read full symbol analysis)

The Old Farmer

The old farmer is featured in the story "Field Trip," and symbolizes the mostly-buried hatchet between the Vietnamese people and the Americans. Tim O'Brien assures his daughter, Kathleen, that the man is not angry… (read full symbol analysis)

The Dancing Girl

The dancing girl is featured only in the story "Style," but serves as a poignant symbol for the chaos and meaninglessness of war. Azar is put-off by the fact that the girl keeps dancing, even… (read full symbol analysis)