Free The Things They Carried Essay

This story by Tim O’Brien on the event the protagonist experienced right in the midst of the Vietnam War. In this story, the author outlines the things that his fellow Alpha Company soldiers carried with them to the war and how they impacted on their operation the war. The things they carried are here categorized as either intangible or tangible (physical) objects. The physical objects include morphine, matches, M&M’s candy, and M-16 rifles. Others that are intangible include anxiety, fear, love, confusion and guilt. For instance, the author, O’Brian runs away to Canada to avoid going into the Vietnam War because of fear; although he later feels guilty for disappointing his entire family. He, therefore, joins others in the war.

From O’Brien’s story, I am now made to learn about the things that I take in everyday life. These things can as well be categorized as either physical or non-physical (intangible). Items that I take like money, passport, bus ticket, phone, and gate pass and visa/credit card are just but the things that enhance the smooth flow of my daily activities. For instance, some liquid money can enable me get a few services that cannot be settled using my credit card, while my credit card can allow me access my savings in a financial institution with easy, purchase some goods in town and refuel my car. A bus ticket enables me to commute from one place to another as the phone (mobile phone) connects me to the people both at home and my workplace. In other instances, I may not be allowed to get past some places or entrances to places like my business offices; thus I use both or either the passport and or the gate pass to gain access. The above objects are the tangible things that I take with myself in my daily or work life.


On the other hand, and just like the US soldiers in the Vietnam War, I also carry myself with several intangible things which include fear, anxiety, love, confusion, guilty, and hope. Every time I leave my house, the odor of fear engulfs my mind; I do not know what the outside world carries for me each day, so I have to play to God for good things to happen to me. These prayers discard the seeds of fear in me and raise the spirits of hope that everything will be ok in each day. I am usually anxious about fulfilling my daily tasks in time and probably getting one or more extra part-time activities to carry on the day and improve on my pay slip. Thus, I handle my activities with diligence and much accuracy to satisfy customers and the company in order to avoid wastage of time on customer complaints. 

Confusion comes in when I am unable to guide my team diligently and, as a result, each member comes in with totally irrelevant information on the task allocated. This leaves me guilty of the result, which sometimes leaves me with no option other that redoing the whole job on my own because I usually do not want to fail neither our customers nor my business for these is my bosses. Finally, the love of the people I adore most in my life, my mother, wife and daughter-Diana. They are the people that always keep me going in my daily life. They are the reasons that I wake up in the morning smiling and the need to go out and get for them. If I fail our customers and my business, I will have disappointed my mother, daughter and wife-Jacinta. I always retrospect on them in my mind in every moment of my duty and my love for them is indelible.

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