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Word Count: 1,282
Edwin Hubbel Chapin was once quoted saying At the bottom of a good deal of the bravery that appears in the world there lurks a miserable cowardice Men will face powder and steel because they cannot face public opinion This belief is held true throughout Tim OBriens short story The Things They Carried A story whose setting is placed within the action of the Vietnam War OBrien uses extensive imagery in order to describe each soldiers specific physical burdens and in the long run he emphasizes the recurring theme of bravery and the effects of war on individuals This imagery helps us relate to the characters and their own personal priorities OBrien uses their differences to demonstrate how his theme of bravery and the effects of war are concurrent through every character in the platoon no matter what they felt they needed to carry to survive Despite their physical preparation for each and every mission each soldier went through the same daily routine by daylight they took sniper fire at night they were mortared but it was not battle it was just the endless march village to village without purpose nothing won or lost OBrien 1265 It is this uncertainty of purpose that allows OBrien through his characters to question the line between bravery and cowardice and ultimately display what the inevitable effects of a pointless war have on the individuals involved Referring back to Chapins quote OBrien describes these men as normally brave but sometimes when they are being attacked they become terrified and cry and scream In this story bravery can be seen intertwined with cowardice Although the men want to appear brave in front of their friends they are actually terrified This gives us the impression that they are not sure what bravery is or are not actually brave themselves They carried the common secret of cowardice barely restrained the instinct to run or freeze or hide and in
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