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Word Count: 541
For young people the Vietnam War is a thing of the past and they can only learn about it from second hand sources In Tim Obriens The Things They Carried it becomes very apparent that the Vietnam conflict has proved to be one that many of the participants have not been able move away from while getting on with their lives Obrien shows that the conflict takes on a parasitic form that eats away on its victims for the rest of their lives A parasite is defined as an organism that grows feeds and is sheltered on or in a different organism while harming its host The war in this case takes the place of the organism and the host becomes the soldiers There are several examples of the parasitic nature of war through out the book In one particular section Tim OBrien returns to Vietnam with his daughter Twenty years had gone by but it seems as though all of his thoughts are geared back to the time he had spent in the jungle so long before The two of them travel all over the country but before their departure he returns to the field where he feels he lost everything On this list he includes his honor his best friend and all faith in himself For OBrien evidence of the parasite is not solely in his return Vietnam but rather a constant personal preoccupation that seems to flow through the collection of stories OBrien shows how the memories of the war take on a parasitic form and uses himself as an example In the chapter Speaking of Courage OBrien introduces a character by the name of Norman Bowker In the story Norman finds him self home after serving his time in Vietnam Even though he is back in his home town things do not seem the same to him The was seems to have put a new spin on his life Most of
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