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Word Count: 491
Perception After the Fact Tim OBrians short story The Things They Carried is a description of military equipment that ground soldiers carried during the Vietnam War OBrian provides great detail about each piece of equipment including each items purpose and when it was used To more clearly illustrate the challenge faced by the soldiers and the equipment they used the story follows a plot about a platoon of men lead by First Lieutenant Jimmy Cross In the climax of the story one of Crosss men Ted Lavender wandered into the woods alone against standard orders and got shot in the head Cross then faced feelings of guilt that perhaps Lavenders death was his own fault This demonstrates one of the lessons of the story Sometimes we feel responsible for something that happens even though we could not have prevented it Ranking on the top of the list of items the men were forced to carry were the necessities For example some of the necessities included P-38 can openers pocket knives matches C-rations water a nylon covered flak jacket and an M-16 assault rifle All of these items were carried for two simple reasons the first for survival the other to provide deadly force Killing was of course their job and along with this came the chance of being killed Unexpected events like the death of Lavender were bound to happen even with all the necessities and lethal weapons the government provided Besides carrying necessities each individual carried personal items of significant importance Although these items were not essential for survival they were important in boosting moral and maintaining a connection to their lives back home For Example First Lieutenant Jimmy Cross carried letters and pictures of his desired sweetheart Martha He was madly in love with her even though she did not love him the same way In addition to carrying her letters he carried the hope that Martha would one day fall
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