Get help from the best in academic writing.

Free Things They Carried Essays: Instinct

Human Instinct in The Things They Carried

Fear is a strong emotion that is constantly haunting the minds of the men in Tim O’Brien’s book, The Things They Carried. Fear is handled by different men in different ways. However, through the characters of Dave Jenson and Lee Struck in “Enemies” and “Friends,” two opposing reactions can be seen. HCAL defines cultural studies as something that can “…either create community or cause division and alienation”(240). By using cultural studies it is possible to analyze these two stories to understand why these two men react differently to he same emotion under different circumstances.

In “Enemies,” Jenson and Struck have a fight over a missing jackknife which evolves from a broken nose to a broken mind. The two men become enemies; not only are they faced with the fear of war, but also of the fear of each other. Jenson was affected the most by this. He began to loose his sanity watching both the enemy lines and his own men trusting no one. In an attempt to justify the fight with Struck, he breaks his own nose along with yelling and shooting off rounds of ammunition. The fear that built up inside of Jenson causes him to be alienated from the rest of the Army.

Unlike the prior story, in “Friends,” fear helps to bring Jenson and Struck closer together. They are both afraid of returning from the war dismembered in some fashion. To prevent this, the men form a agreement that if one of them is hurt in such a way, that the other would kill them. Because of this pact, the men are united with a common trust. This helps to subside the fear and allow them to not be as scared of the war.

These two stories show how fear can cause the bond of friendship and community or hatred which resulted in alienation. The two character, Lee Strunk and Dave Jenson, show how a mans reaction to fear can affect him. In the story “Enemies,” Jenson slowly begins to isolate himself as a way to keep away from Strunk. He views everyone as the enemy making his foxholes near the perimeter and always keeping his back covered. This constant fear ate way at Jenson until he finally lost his sanity. In “Friends,” Jenson and Strunk take deal with fear in a more positive way.

growaw Metamorphosis of Edna Pontellier in Kate Chopin’s The Awakening

The Metamorphosis of Edna Pontellier in The Awakening

The Awakening, written by Kate Chopin, tells the story of a woman, Edna Pontellier, who transforms herself from an obedient housewife to a person who is alive with strength of character and emotions which she no longer has to repress. This metamorphosis is shaped by her surroundings. Just as her behavior is more shocking and horrifying because of her position in society, it is that very position which causes her to feel restrained and makes her yearn to rebel.

Adele Ratignolle is Edna’s close friend and confidante, but the two women are nothing alike. Adele is the perfect housewife and mother; she is the epitome of what a Creole woman and mother ought to be. She lives her life for her children, always being sure that they are properly cared for, clothed, and educated. Unlike Adele whose life is fulfilled through loving and caring for her children, Edna is “fond of her children in an uneven, impulsive way” (Chopin, p. 18). They are not enough to justify her life.

Adele could not understand how Edna could say that she “would never sacrifice herself for her children, or for anyone” (Chopin, p. 47). Edna’s being is taking on a new importance in her life. She is starting to realize just how important it is to be true to herself. She has never done that before. She went along with the way things were supposed to be, holding her socials and tending to her house until she became aware that she needs more from her life.

Edna’s marriage to Leonce is safe, but there is no passion or excitement. “She grew fond of her husband, realizing with some unaccountable satisfaction that no trace of passion or excessive and fictitious warmth colored her affection, thereby threatening its dissolution” (Chopin, p. 18). While this lack of emotion is enough to satisfy Edna for the majority of her marriage, after she begins to allow her true self to come forth, she feels trapped and seeks a way to escape. She realizes that she needs intrigue and flavor in her marriage, especially, in her life. Leonce cannot understand that she does not fit the mold of the typical Creole woman. Her lifestyle is suffocating her.

The person whom Edna truly admires is Mademoiselle Reiz, who is a brilliant pianist.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.