Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Things They Carried

Although there aren’t many female characters in Tim O’Briens’ The Things They Carried, there is still a feminist idea present in the novel. The idea present is that women served just as an important role as men in the Vietnam War, although it was very different. The women were the most important things for men at war, serving as inspiration and comfort. Often times, women were idolized and held to high esteem even without their knowledge. In some cases however, the women did not act as they were thought to. This came to a surprise and even heartbreak to some unfortunate men at war.

The idea of a woman waiting for you back home was the best thing for a man at war. This woman served as the reason to fight and a comfort because they had to. The men had pictures and souvenirs of the women they loved and carried with them. There are examples of this in the novel, one being Henry Dobbins. Henry had a girlfriend back home waiting for him, just like many other men. In order to remind himself of this, he carried with him a pair of her pantyhose. Often times when Henry had to go out on an ambush or when he went to sleep, he would wrap the pantyhose around his neck and smell them for good luck. Henry and the other men of his company recognized that the pantyhose had some sort of magic to them. This was seen when Henry tripped a Bouncing Betty and got caught in a harsh firefight, but had his pantyhose around his neck and was not injured at all.

Along with good luck charms like Henry’s pantyhose, the men carried pictures, and held on to them for dear life. Often times the men carried them in plastic so that the elements wouldn’t fade, warp, or ruin them. The men would do anything to keep the picture of their girl back at home. One vivid example from the book, is the day that Kiowa died. One night in a mud field, Kiowa and a young soldier were sitting and talking when the soldier took out a protected picture of his girl for Kiowa to see. The young soldier turned on his flashlight and a second later they were ambushed. During the firefight Kiowa was injured and sunk far into the mud, dying, but the most important thing to the young soldier was getting his picture of his girl back. While the rest of the platoon searched the muddy waters for Kiowa’s body, he searched for his picture, because it was the only picture he had and it’s what kept him going.

In some instances, the women didn’t even realize that they served such an awesome purpose in the war. These women just went about their daily lives, seeming to not even think twice about the war or dare to mention it in their letters they may write to a soldier they may know. For many soldiers though, these letters meant so much, or sometimes everything to them. Lieutenant Jimmy Cross was one of these soldiers and the woman who was his unknowing inspiration was Martha. Martha was a girl Jimmy knew from college, and whom he had fallen in love with. When Jimmy went to war, this love was only amplified. The letters, pictures, and a souvenir pebble that Martha had sent over seemed to serve as everything for the Lt. Jimmy would spend every night in his foxhole analyzing the letters over and over, trying to find a hidden romantic meaning in them, when in all reality he knew there was none. He would look at the pictures wondering whom had taken them, and feeling somewhat jealous of those people. He would take the pebble Martha had sent him from the Jersey shore and place it in his mouth, tasting the salt and imagining he was on the shore with her right at that very moment. Every thing that Jimmy did wasn’t for himself or for his men or for the war, it was for Martha and the possibility of she and him being together in the future. However, Martha never knew that she served such a purpose for Jimmy. She wrote him letters, and gave him pictures, and sent him a pebble for a good luck, but never intended to be Jimmy’s romantic interest, or his girl waiting at home for him. Even Jimmy had admitted to himself that none of her letters had a romantic idea to them or that the pebble was anything more than a good luck charm. Nevertheless, Martha was to Lt. Cross what many other women were to other soldiers during the Vietnam war: an inspiration and a comfort even without them being present and sometimes even without their knowledge.

In some instances, the women at home seemed to not fulfill their role as a comfort for the men at war, and this came as a real shock for many of the men at war. The novel gives two examples of this in Curt Lemon’s sister and Mark Fossie’s girlfriend Mary Anne.

Curt Lemon and Rat Kiley were in the same platoon and became best friends. One afternoon, Curt was killed and Rat was left without a best friend and no one to comfort him. For this , Rat turned to Lemon’s sister. After Lemon’s death, Rat sat down and wrote a nice letter to Lemon’s sister about how great a guy Lemon was, being a jokester and how Rat had loved him and how they were best friends. Rat even says that he’ll look her up when the war’s over. "So what happens? Rat mails the letter. He waits two months. The dumb cooze never writes back."(68). This comes as a surprise to all of the men, especially Rat, because this is not how a woman was supposed to act. All of the men expected Lemon’s sister to act like all of the other women they had idolized and write back to Rat, to be his comfort and support. It is almost as if the men wanted to women to realize that they were adored and should accept the fact and intentionally do things to try and comfort their soldier. When this didn’t happen, the men at war were devastated.

A similar situation happened between Mark Fossie and his long time girlfriend Mary Anne. Mary Anne was the typical innocent girl at home for Mark and when he decided to bring her to the war, everything changed. Mark brought her their to serve as a comfort still, but now that Mary Anne was put in the war zone she became a part of it and lost her innocence just like others did. Instead of staying in her room, wearing culottes and being by Mark’s side, she decided to go out on ambushes and help with injured soldiers. When Mary Anne started to not act as the woman Mark wanted her to be and expected her to be, he was surprised and even disappointed and heartbroken. Mark had his hopes up that bringing Mary Anne would inspire him and bring him even more joy than a picture or a letter could. However, Mary Anne was not the girl at home any more, she was part of Vietnam, and this reality hurt Mark and surprised other men, who wanted their women to be constantly there for them.

Women weren’t thought of as being important in war. In many peoples’ minds women couldn’t fight, kill, or last long in the jungle. This may have been true for many women, but as this novel shows, without women, all of the wars of the past would have been drastically different. Women served a very different purpose in the war, they served as hope and support for troops. Without his girl’s pantyhose Henry Dobbins would be very different, maybe even hopeless and depressed. Without a salty pebble Lt. Cross may not have had the strength to lead his platoon. Although there were some women who didn’t fit the mold of a soldier’s girl at home, many of the women during the Vietnam War fulfilled their role as an inspiration and a comfort to the men at war.

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How to Write a Good Book Review

How to write a good book review paper? - a lot of students ask themselves before preparing academic book reviews assigned by professors and teachers in college or university.

All of us have hard and somewhat impossible assignments such as writing a book review. And we all would like to write a good book review. No one knows a recipe how to prepare a good book review, all we have is tips that can help you try and write a good book review. A book review is something you write about the book, which you have read. A good book review has to be your thoughts, impressions and impressions on the book that you have read.

Planning is the main part of writing a good book review. When starting to write a good book review – the first thing you have to do – is read the book, and while reading – write your thoughts and every chapter, and sometimes even on every sentence. After you have gathered all your thoughts – you can sit down and start structuring them. The important part is to write your thoughts down as soon as it comes up to your mind, this way you will have the most detailed thoughts and ideas, which are expected from you when you are asked to write a good book review.

The first thing you should write, when writing a book review is a draft. A lazy student starts to write the final version of his book review, but smart students write the first draft which will 100% not be the final draft. He is trying to organize the thoughts, which are written down on a piece of paper. He tries to group all these thoughts and still have a logical structure.

Analyzing and criticizing your book review is very essential. After the first draft is written – all you have to do is take some rest for about 15 minutes, and afterwards – sit down and look on your first draft as it was someone else's paper. You have to read it carefully and analyze what you like and what you dislike in this paper. That way – you will have a detailed list of pros and cons, of what your book review essay looks like, and you'll know how to write the final draft.

Final draft is what you get. After you've done all this – you are ready to write your final draft. Never negate what you've written previously. Always think what you are writing, and make it sure that it sounds profound and exact.

Never forget to proofread your book review paper. Proofreading is the last stage of your book review writing process. Never forget to do it, as this shows your interest in the class and your hard working as well.

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How to Write a Good Book Report

A lot of students often feel helpless who don't know how to write a book report, how to do a good book report and how to prepare a great book report assigned by their professors and teachers.

Writing a book report takes a lot of time. In order to write an excellent book report – you have to read the book, or at least the cliff notes or something like that. Not everybody has time or ability to read a book, to write a book report.

When writing a book report – you have to seize the whole book, and point out the things that your professor, instructor or tutor wants you to point out. This can’t be easy, especially with all the pressure put upon you, when writing a book report.

Writing a book report outline can ease your pain. A book report outline is your key to success. By writing an outline – you save yourself some time for structuring your thoughts, ideas, and chapters. You use your outline in writing your book report and for oral speeches as well. You won’t be able to make a good book report without a proper outline.

Another interesting tip on how to make a good book report is to consider your professors’ needs and wants. When he gives out an assignment – he is counting on some thoughts of yours to be incorporated in the paper. Don’t forget about those thoughts and try to stress them in your paper. When your professor starts reading the paper and sees the thoughts he want to see – he’ll forget about everything else, and give you the highest grade, as you show that you are thinking the same way your professor is thinking.

Another important aspect of writing a book report – is writing it according to all the requirements of your professor. The instructions are way too important, so never ignore them, and think that it will pass the way I want to do it.

Never forget to proofread your paper, as it is important part of the image of your book report paper. If your professor sees, that your paper is sloppy and not proofread – he will think you did not spend enough time for the paper, hence you are not interested in his classes – which may lead to a lower grade. Always dedicate enough time for the book report. Never be lazy, as laziness is easily traceable. And let me assure you that if you do everything right – your professor will put the highest possible grade and praise you.

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How to Write a Good Paper

How to write a good paper? How to write a college paper? Actually, what is a good paper? Is a good paper – which is graded by a good grade from your professor? Or, maybe, it is the one which expresses your thoughts in the best way? It is hard to say. But I know for sure, that if you need a good paper – mainly it is for the grade.

In order to get a good grade - a student needs to know how to write good papers, or basically, how to write a good academic paper. Most of the students are writing papers, counting on their luck, and their reputation, to get a good grade from their professor. They get sad every time they are unsuccessful with their paper, as it is improperly written, and they wonder "Why can't I write a good paper?" and "What am I doing wrong?"

The simple answer to this problem is that the professor is a person, with demands and requests. He knows exactly what needs to be written, and so do you. By defining what needs to be incorporated in the paper – you get yourself a guarantee that your paper will be well received.

Never ignore using an outline and structuring your text. You have to have many ideas about your topic in your paper, so in order for the paper to be effective – you have to have them logically structured and algorithmic. An outline can help you with that. Try gathering all your thoughts together and generating a vast outline of all the thought you would like to incorporate in your paper.

Never be so lazy to proofread the paper. A good paper has to be ideal. You should know how to do a paper, and should know how to proofread it. If you know how to prepare a good paper, how to do a good paper, how to make a good paper or how to compose a good paper – make sure it looks dazzling.

A college paper isn’t that hard if you know how to write it. These simple tips will help you, if you use them properly. Never be lazy to rewrite the paper from scratch if something is unsettling. And always think twice before writing a paper.

I am sure, that if you follow these simple tips – you will get an A paper that will satisfy you and your professor. Give it a try and you won’t be discouraged.

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