Jennifer Vega Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and the Effects of the U. S. Wars The author of The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien, incorporates various messages within his book. One of the most important messages within the text greatly deals with war and everything associated with it. As a veteran of the Vietnam War, O’Brien is exceedingly qualified to provide readers with an accurate depiction of what it feels like for a soldier to live in a constant state of war. The series of stories within The Things They Carried present us with the difficult choices forced upon those who have dealt with the conflicts of combat (Chem.).
O’Brien stories also show us that a war is never truly over; a great number of soldiers who survive a war must often face the damaging repercussions of warfare long after it has ended. Consequently, the message being presented in The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien is the notion that war has the power to transform people, altering and skewing their mental states, their principles, and their sense of morality by striping human beings of their humanity, and instead replacing it with fear and trauma.
In the first chapter of the book, “The Things They Carried,” the narrator introduces descriptions of the kind of things these soldiers array and the kind of people they were before the war?this is particularly true for Lieutenant Jimmy Cross. The men carry physical burdens of diverse nature; some of the things they carry largely depend on necessity and priority. They all carry emotional baggage as well as their own ghosts. Throughout the chapter, the narrator presents us with the story of the scared soldier, Ted Lavender, who carries tranquilizer and more rounds of ammunition than the average soldier.
Alt. Jimmy Cross carries the weight of the grief and guilt he feels for the death of Ted Lavender, whom he is certain dies because of his preoccupation with Martha. The morning after Lavender dies, Alt. Cross burns Marsh’s letters and photos and makes it his resolve to forget about her; he vows that he will direct his objectivity towards his duties. In the fourth chapter, “On the Rainy River,” Jimmy Cross a story that he has never told anyone before. When he receives the draft notice, there are many things going through his mind.
At some point in his resolve he decides to drive north and ends up in an old fishing resort, located near the river that divides Canada from Minnesota, called The Tip Top Lodge. Jimmy Cross spends six days at the lodge in the many of the lodge keeper, an old man named Elroy Bernard. The old man respects Cross’s privacy and does not ask him questions about his life. On the sixth day, the old man takes Cross out fishing on the Rainy River; Cross realizes that he is twenty yards off the shore of Canada, but ultimately decides against making a run for it.
Instead he cries silently and eventually decides that he would go to war. In chapter six, “How to tell a True War Story,” the narrator prefaces with a story about his buddy, Rat Killed. A friend of Rat’s, Curt Lemon, gets killed; about a week later, he decides to rite his dead friend’s sister a letter to tell her what a great brother she had, and to tell near Tanat nee was a true comrade Ana Nero. IOW months pass, Ana u c arts Slater never writes Rat back. Frustrated about this, Rat spits at the ground and calls her a “dumb ooze. The narrator says how sometimes a true war story cannot be believed, how a true war story is impossible to tell, and a true war story cannot be made abstract or rendered to simple generalizations because war is too ambiguous. The narrator remembers how Curt Lemon died, and how he and Jensen are ordered to retrieve the body parts from a tree. In the chapter “The Man I Killed,” the narrator contemplates upon the wounds he inflicts upon the man he kills with a grenade on the trail near My She.
He describes the wounds?how there was a star-shaped hole where one of his eyes should be, how his teeth and upper lip were missing, and how the man’s Jaw was in his throat. The narrator imagines the life of the man he killed? how the man was not a communist, but rather a scholar who merely wanted to be a Mathematics Professor and had only been a soldier for only a day. Kiowa urges Alt. Cross to talk about it, and attempts to rationalize the incident, claiming that any one f them could have targeted and killed the man. The chapter “Speaking of Courage” states that after the war, Norman Booker returns to Iowa.
He drives around town and reminisces about his high school girlfriend. Booker drives around and realizes that he has nowhere to go. He thinks about his father, and he thinks about the medals he won in Vietnam, which he is certain would satisfy his father. Booker remembers how he almost won the Silver Star, and how he could have saved Kiowa from dying in the sewage field but let him go in order to save himself. He imagines what his father could say to him; Booker did, after all, succeed in attaining seven medals, even though he did not get the Silver Star.
Towards the end of the chapter, Booker submerges himself in the lake and then proceeds to observe the Fourth of July fireworks. In the chapter “In the field,” Alt. Cross decides to write a letter to Kiosk’s father to inform him what a good soldier his son had been. The morning after Kiowa dies, the platoon goes into the sewage field to search for his body. Halfway into the field, Mitchell Sanders finds Kiosk’s rucksack. The men begin to desperately search for Kiosk’s body. While the men search, Alt. Cross is busy trying to compose the letter in his head.
He feels responsible and blames himself, arguing that it was his Job to make sure that his men were safe. The men ultimately find Kiosk’s body wedged into a layer of mud, and proceed to clean him up while Alt. Cross continues revising the letter in his head. According to the book, one of the effects of the Vietnam War was that it forced soldiers to find a way to cope. Ted Lavender, for example, coped by taking four or five tranquilizer every morning before he died, “Ted Lavender had a habit of popping four or five tranquilizer every morning.
It was his way of coping, just dealing with the realities, and the drugs helped to ease him through the days” (O’Brien, 218). As was the case with Ted Lavender, some soldiers develop a dependency on certain substances to help them deal with the fear and chaos that surrounded them. Also, O’Brien states that when these soldiers were in Vietnam, they devised ways to make the dead seem less dead?they did so by keeping their memory alive through stories. “They’re all dead.
But in a story, which is a kind of dreaming, the dead sometimes smile and sit up and return to the world” (O’Brien, 213). This is one way in which these soldiers coped with gruesome reality of death. Another way that soldiers coped with the war was by changing, which is evident in ten Toweling quote: lo come to tons war a quell, outhunt sort AT person, a college grad, Phi Beta Kappa and summary UCM lauded, all the credentials, but after seven years in the bush I realized that those high, civilized trappings had somehow been crushed under the weight of the simple daily duties.
I’d turned mean inside. Even a little cruel at times. (O’Brien, 190-191). The author states that he had gone into the war, and as a result, all the things that made him who he was were crushed by the weight of the elites he faced on a daily basis. As a result of the Vietnam War, some soldiers lost their ability to transition back into normality. During the years of the Vietnam war, from 1965 to 1975, thousands of soldiers, both men and women, left the U. S. ND entered a war zone of death and chaos that many of them were unprepared to deal with. When they returned, some successfully readjusted back into normality at home, but others found the process of blending back into society to be more complicated (Role). According to Roland, those who did not find a way to overcome their PUTS succumbed to the disorder’s devastating effects. Such was the story of Norman Booker, who got back from the war and found himself struggling to keep a Job, and ended up committing suicide in his town’s YMCA.
In the following quotation by Norman Booker, it is evident that he had lost the ability to assimilate back into society: What you should do, Tim, is write a story about a guy who feels like he got zapped over in that soothe. A guy who can’t get his act together and Just drives around town all day and can’t think of any damn place to go and doesn’t know how to get there anyway. This guy wants to talk about it, but he can’t. (O’Brien, 151) The extent of the damage done by the Vietnam War is also evident in the damaged psyches of the many men who did come back home, but perhaps wish they had not.
Those who did not lose their lives lost something else in the war?their ability to go back to the lives they had before the war. As stated within the text, one effect of the Vietnam War is that, even after it ended, the war was never truly over. “The bad stuff never stops happening. It lines in its own dimension, replaying itself over and over” (O’Brien, 31). Soldiers who come home from the war are forced to relive the deaths of their fellow soldiers over and over again.
According to O’Brien, writing provided him with a way to deal with these daunting memories of the war that might have otherwise manifested themselves as paralysis or perhaps something even worse; “l did not look on my work as therapy, and I still don’t. Yet when I received Norman Booker’s letter, it occurred to me that the act of writing had led me through a swirl of memories that might otherwise have ended in paralysis or worse” (O’Brien, 152). Unfortunately, however, not many individuals are able to find a healthy way to deal with these memories that they must carry with them for the rest of their lives.
PUTS today is a challenge for many of our soldiers, whether they are active or not. There are many soldiers who suffer from PUTS who may not even seek out treatment for their condition out of fear that their trauma could be considered a war crime. Depending on the kind of traumatic event, veterans and soldiers may avoid disclosing their traumatic experiences in order to avoid the consequences that follow, which may include criminal charges or even imprisonment (Moore & Penn).
Some active soldiers with the condition may also avoid seeking out treatment because of limits on confidentiality. Some may avoid seeking out treatment because they want to preserve their current military rank or position. There are many reasons why veterans Ana soldiers accuse against seeking out treatment Tort tenet P reason, it is no surprise that so many veterans continue to struggle with the symptoms of PUTS. According to Scruffier, there are untold numbers of veterans from the Afghanistan and Iraq wars who continue to suffer with major symptoms of PUTS.
The symptoms of this disorder are remarkably persistent, and are generally life-long (Scruffier). There are many veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars who are offering with PUTS today, whose families are also being affected by PUTS. According to Moore and Penn, studies of Veterans from combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq show significant levels of PUTS. Millions of loved ones are also, as a result, being affected by PUTS. According to McDermott, combat-related PUTS can be infectious at times?family members can contract it from the veteran who is suffering with PUTS.
In fact, the effects of PUTS on the families of veterans include, but are not limited to, difficulties in parenting, poor family functioning, and behavioral problems in the hillier of parent’s who suffer from PUTS (Moore ; Penn). PUTS war veterans may also develop many symptoms, which include, but are not limited to, several physiological manifestations like difficulty sleeping, outbursts of anger, hyperventilate, or difficulty concentrating (McDermott). The spouses and children of veterans suffering with PUTS also have high risks of developing psychological problems as well (McDermott).
Conclusively, PUTS is an ongoing challenge for many of our veterans today. The disorder has the ability to negatively impact the lives of he families of our veterans and, unfortunately, according to an article about PUTS, current treatments for PUTS are largely ineffective (Gary ; Elliot). It is not uncommon for soldiers that return from war to find themselves lost and unable to adjust back into the civilian world because they have been exposed to one psychologically traumatic event after another.
The cost of the war is not only evident in the casualties of our side, but it is also evident in the massive devastation of death that also occurred in Vietnam. Millions of people died, and many more are left alive UT forced to either overcome their experiences or succumb to their PUTS. Some costs of war aren’t always clear in the grand scheme of things because no one really knows what our soldiers are giving up for the war, “One of the tragedies of the war is that yes, we “lost” parts of ourselves over there. We will never be able to reclaim them from the Vietnamese” (Scruffier).
The war costs lives, and it costs millions of dollars to fund, which could have otherwise been used to better our society and improve our standard and quality of living. The war feeds on the unfulfilled dreams of the men ho fought and died for someone else’s war. In reality, all these soldiers who go to war to fight someone else’s battle end up paying the consequences, with either their lives, or their psychological and even mental wellbeing. Unfortunately, most of the public is not sufficiently aware about the effects of the U.
S. Wars on civilians and military personnel, and veterans are not being helped sufficiently to recover from their experiences because treatments do not guarantee that a veteran will be cured; medications, for example, provide relief but do not offer “the complete cure that veterans usually desire” (McDermott). Conclusively, the cost of war is not merely evident in the trillions of dollars spent to fund it; it is evident in the notion that many people have become almost anesthetized to the concept of war.
Above all, it is evident in the lives of men who will never come home to see their families, and the many Tanat ah return out walls teen Ana not. Mm O’Brien Knows ten mechanisms AT the trauma that soldiers experience psychologically. For this reason he is able to successfully use his own writing to provide us with an understanding of the severity of PUTS and the extent of damage it can do. In most cases, the costs of war far outweigh any benefits that could possibly be acquired. We send in our troops?some die, some come back physically and emotionally mangled by the state of war and fear.