The Things They Carried

by: Tim O’Brien

Genre

Main ideas Genre

The Things They Carried is a collection of linked short stories about the experiences of the members of an American army platoon’s experiences during and after the Vietnam War. In a book of linked short stories, each story can be read and understood separately, but they share a cast of characters and the common experiences those characters have. In The Things They Carried, the characters share the experience of fighting for the American side in the Vietnam War. The narrator is also consistent across the stories – a soldier named Tim O’Brien describes his own experiences of war as well as the experiences of his fellow soldiers. Many of the stories in the book have elements of memoir, in which the character “Tim” reflects on the act of writing about his friends from the platoon, focusing particularly on how the war changed them and him. However, the book is described as a “work of fiction” by the author, Tim O’Brien, on the title page.