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Things They Carried Essay: A Cultural Studies Approach to Enemies

A Cultural Studies Approach to “Enemies” in The Things They Carried

Two men who fight over a jackknife in “Enemies”, a chapter in Tim O’Brien’s work, The Things They Carried. A cultural studies approach to “Enemies” allows the reader to look much deeper into the meaning of the events that unfold in “Enemies”. The fight over the knife could very well reflect the events occurring in society during that time.

In short, “Enemies” is about two men, Lee Strunk and Dave Jensen, who are battling not only in a war but with each other. They were viciously fighting about a missing jackknife. A question that the reader might ask themselves is, why were they fighting over a jackknife? Did it have some special sentimental meaning? These questions cannot be answered; they can only be left to wonder.

Vietnam was a very mentally and physically strenuous war to fight. At any given point any soldier could snap. That is exactly what happen…

Free Things They Carried Essays: Communists and Capitalists

Communists and Capitalists in The Things They Carried

The Vietnam War was directly related to the Cold War, where the communists and the capitalists used balance-of-power politics to keep the other from dominating the world. Yet, there was a role reversal amongst the soldiers fighting for the capitalists and democracy. Many of the soldiers made deals amongst themselves, which were in essence communist, stating that should one become injured or severely wounded, their “buddy” would end the soldier’s suffering by killing him. This is seen in “Enemies” and “Friends”.

“Enemies” and “Friends” tell the tale of two soldiers who initially do not get along, but through the course of the war, form a bond that holds even through death. In the opening sentence, O’Brien says, “Lee Strunk and Dave Jensen got into a fistfight.”(62) In doing so, he shows the high tensions of the entire war. The friction and animosity are evident between the USSR and the USA and North Vietnam and South Vietnam, but to show the tension within the same army proves just how drastic…

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