The Things They Carried

by: Tim O’Brien

Protagonist

Main ideas Protagonist

The character of Tim is the protagonist of The Things They Carry. His quest to understand how fighting in the Vietnam War changed him and the other men in his platoon is the driving force in the book. Tim tells stories from multiple viewpoints, examining them for truth and meaning, trying to pull them away from the meaninglessness of the war. At the beginning of the novel, Tim is one member of a platoon left reeling after Ted Lavender is killed. By the end, it is 20-some years later, and he is able to reflect on Ted and the other men he saw killed. Telling their stories has helped him make peace with the ghosts of the war, and to honor them. The other men who survived, such as Lt. Cross, are also grateful for the chance to reflect and to have their stories told.