Question 3

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Question 3

Post  John Patrikis on Mon May 09, 2011 5:30 pm

3. If you were to categorize this story by genre, what genre would you say it is?

If I were to characterize this book by genre I would call it a "classic". While this book is very popular and well known around the world, it can also be called a classic because of the moral lessons and real life experiences it portrays. "The Things They Carry" specifically touches on all aspects of war without being politically opinionated. For example, in story "Enemies and Friends", O'Brien emphasizes conflict of soldiers with each other and how war makes men become hardened. Then, in the story "Spin" he displays the positive aspects of war, such as the bonding of the soldiers and the innocent people of Vietnam. Also, in several stories of the book a man names Curt Lemon is mentioned. Lemon is a man that effected many of the soldiers lives through his death. By doing this, the book is strictly based on the experiences of war, rather than the political beliefs of the author. Therefore, it can be called a classic because it is noteworthy to all types of people and is beneficial to all to read.

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Post  mandaababyy14 on Mon May 09, 2011 6:02 pm

Although this story seems to be a classic story for people, it also comes across as a tragedy. The war took away many things both emotionally and physically from the men fighting in it. The men grow close to each other and create bonds stronger than even most families have created and then they are ripped apart after one of the men is killed. Of course, losing a few of the men is expected, but never wanted. The saddness from the losses must be "carried" with the men along with everything else each one must carry (described in chapter one). Another example of tragedy is Fossie's loss of his sweetheart to the war. She became overwhelmed and grew to be a part of the land. He lost her forever and there was nothing that he could have done about it. Despite the many positive aspects of the story, there is no way to avoid the underlying tragedy each man must have faced during the time of the war.

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Post  jackielaurente on Mon May 09, 2011 8:03 pm

Although I do agree with "The Things They Carried" being catorgerized as a classic, I feel it would be moreso placed in tragedy. There are many stories about death and loss that take place throughout the book and it both emotionally and physically hurts the people surrounded by it. The platoons grow as one and when one man dies each member dies a little bit of themselves from seeing that horrible "tragedy". For example, when Ted Lavender was killed each man was hurt in their own way, especially O'Brien because he wasn't protecting his squad. But with all the deaths surrounding this book and the loss all the men faced around each other and within one another-even when they reutrned home to America after the war-it catagorizes itself in the genre of tragedy.

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Post  EmilyBland on Mon May 09, 2011 9:50 pm

I would agree that this is a classic, but I also thing that this is a book meant as a memory. The entire book is a collection of fictional short stories. However, the stories are based off of legitimate emotions and challenges but written indirectly. This book is meant to symbolize to the public what our soliders are put through emotionally, Its a memoir to the men who have been through the tourcher of being separated from their families, watching their best friend killed,and faced with death itself. The average American doesn't see this side of the war. We only see the death toll, the statistics. I believe this should be classified as a memoir, justified solely on the deeper meanings behind the characters and the stories themselves.

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Re: Question 3

Post  briejones9 on Mon May 09, 2011 10:27 pm

I agree that this is a classic piece of war literature, but it is almost like a memoir of O'Brien's unit from Vietnam. The memoir digs deep into the lives of the soldiers who all faced tragedy, and of O'Brien who finally triumphs by putting his and others' stories into writing so their voices could be heard. Maybe if he had completed Bowker's earlier, Bowker would have felt he had a voice in the community and had finally told his story, although through O'Brien. I think the tragedy is what all the soldiers had to endure and suffer, and the triumph is O'Brien's giving the stories a voice so they could be recorded in history and told for all of time. All the soldiers cared how they would be perceived and how their stories would be told, but just as important was the fact that their stories would be told. They needed it. The telling was just as theraputic as sitting with O'Brien to share the story. It was what Bowker ultimately needed, but never got while he was alive. I wonder if his story would have ended differently if he'd had the talent or found the outlet O'Brien found after the war by putting the stories onto paper for his daughter.

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Re: Question 3

Post  Jaclyn Izzo on Mon May 09, 2011 10:55 pm

I'm not sure I'd call this book a "classic". To me a classic is Oliver Twist, but I see what you and the other responents mean. O'Brien collabrates many short stories into a novel of his time in Vietnam. His stories are classic because they are never forgotton. It is benefical to read because it gives a real-life interputation of a real-life event, therefore being one of a kind. But I would not title this a classic in literature. Maybe just a nonfiction reply of a event in history.

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Re: Question 3

Post  Greer on Mon May 09, 2011 11:43 pm

While this book does seem like a classic, I also think that it's more of a memoir. Despite the fact that O'Brien didn't directly experience everything he recounts in this book (and the reader can never really tell a difference) and it isn't the traditional memoir that usually comes to mind, it is still so personal and revealing about the life of the soldiers in Vietnam that a memoir is what it can be most closely related to. This book is responsible for unearthing the raw emotion and truth of Vietnam, which is a perspective a lot of people are kept from seeing or are unwilling to see. Like someone said in class today, "1,000 is a statistic, and 1 is a tragedy." This book reveals what the soldiers were thinking and feeling, and makes all the percentages we hear about in history come to life. The exact time, place, whether it actually happened or not is irrelevant, at least in this book. The most important part is the overarching truth of what the war meant to the soldiers and how it changed them.

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Post  SandraJozic on Mon May 09, 2011 11:54 pm

To me, a classic is classified by a storyline following one character through certain adventures. So to that part I can't totally agree on, I would rather say that O'briens piece of work falls under the category of fictional writing but I feel that it would be going too far to relate his writing to that of a memoir. The historical fiction comes from the fact that the story is based off an accurate time frame but with a slight alteration of events. I could see the piece of writing as a memoir as well because he does shadow his own events and express them to the reader in great detail, although some of the information he expresses to the reader is inaccurate which makes the memoir also an unsuitable genre for this.

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