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Free Things They Carried Essays: Very Deep and Touching

The Things They Carried: Very Deep and Touching

If anyone knows anything about Vietnam it is that many lives where lost. All through school students were only taught the very top layer about the Vietnam War, such as dates, places that the war took place, and straight statistics of the war. The parts that were left out are the tragedies, and the permanent scars this war left. Students are told about the number of deaths that occurred, but they are not told about the lives that were affected, or how disturbing the war really was to the soldiers that fought in it.

Much can be interpreted by what people write. The great thing about interpretations is that each writing can be interpreted differently. Just like Tim O’Brien’s book titled “The Things They Carried.” It is a very deep and touching collection of stories about the Vietnam War and many peoples experiences in this destructive war. One story that is a touching and very intriguing is titled, “The Man I Killed.” A reader can look at this story and relate it back to things they learned in school, but the point of the story is not this but rather things that can not be taught in public schools. This specific story goes inside a soldier’s mind and shows the reader what they are thinking when they kill someone.

The way that O’Brien starts this story is with great description that helps the reader visualize what is going on. He describes a mangled body that someone had recently killed; again not part of teachings in public schools. The story goes on to tell what the victims background may have been in the eyes of the soldier. How maybe he was a scholar and his parents farmers, or maybe why this young man was in the army, and why he was fighting. O’Brien states that the man may have joined because he was struggling for independence, just like all the people that were fighting with him, maybe this man had been taught from the beginning; that to defend the land was a mans highest duty and privilege. On the other hand maybe he was not a good fighter, maybe he was in poor health but had been told to fight and could not ask any questions. These are all reasons that are taught in textbooks; they go along with the idea of the draft.

Wharton’s Ethan Frome: Escape from Passivity

Escape from Passivity in Ethan Frome

They say that if you give a man the necessary tools and supplies, he will build himself a trap. Since this trap is made unconsciously, it cannot be escaped. The only solution that suffices is to live with this trap – for life. But is it the only solution? In Edith Wharton’s tragic novel Ethan Frome, the need for affection causes Ethan Frome to gradually shed his taciturnity and bring his emotions to life. Early in the novel, Ethan’s passiveness and lack of self-confidence, allow his wife Zeena to emasculate him, as well as make him emotionally inarticulate toward Mattie. Once Mattie Silvers enters Ethan’s life, she awakens in Ethan the bitterness of his youth’s lost opportunities, and a dissatisfaction with his joyless life and empty marriage. Gradually, Ethan strengthens and gathers the courage to defy Zeena and confess his love for Mattie.

At the start of his journey, Ethan surrenders himself to the forces of isolation, silence, and his depleted life. Soon his desire for love, in a situation where only abject coldness exists, transforms him into an emotional and confident man. Because of his emotional weakness, Ethan loses opportunities to reveal his passion to Mattie and also acquiesces to his wife’s demands, while shunning out his own needs. After suffering so long with the sickly Zeena, Ethan fears unveiling his passionate feelings to Mattie, for he is bound as a husband and tradition to Zeena. Years earlier as a younger and more hale man, Ethan felt trapped in his hometown Starkfield. Mistakenly, he marries Zeena, a gaunt, sallow nagging hag, as compensation for her nursing Ethan’s sick mother. Ethan and his morose, invalid wife Zeena live in a trapped, unspoken resentment on…

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… Ethan achieves his sweetheart by sloughing off his shyness and building the strength to communicate his feelings.

On the whole, does Ethan Frome ever set himself free from the weakness that traps him in a hopelessly burdened and branded life? Contrary to popular belief, solitude and the human need for passion cause Ethan Frome, the title character of Edith Wharton’s tragic novel, Ethan Frome, to cast off his shy, feeble nature and embolden into an emotional man. At first, Ethan exhibits self-doubt and fears emotional expression. Upon Mattie’s arrival, Ethan realizes the burdens of his depleted life. In the end, his thirst for Mattie’s love encourages him to blossom into a free, strong, passionate man. For Ethan Frome, life cannot be a loveless and tragic trap. At least he hopes so as struggles and succeeds to free himself from his passivity throughout the novel.

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