The Things They Carried

by: Tim O’Brien

Point of View

Main ideas Point of View

The Things They Carried is written from two points of view. The title story and several others are written in first person, from the perspective of the character of Tim. Tim narrates all the stories but is not the main character in of all of them. In several stories, Tim seeks to memorialize his friends from the platoon by telling their stories, while trying to understand how his experiences in Vietnam changed him. The other point of view is third person omniscient, as in the title story, which allows O’Brien to share the thoughts of many of the characters in the novel, including Kiowa, Lt. Cross, and Rat. Making use of the third person allows O’Brien to include stories that the character of Tim would not have first-hand knowledge of. The combination of the two points of view makes the book a personal account of a collective experience.