The Things They Carried

The Things They Carried is a uniquely written book, one which started a unique genre. The genre is a collection of fact and fiction. Some can casually referred to this genre as faction. This writing style is one wherein some of the elements contained inside of the book are true and others are not, however the audience is never given the information to discern between the two.

For this style of writing, the author received a great deal of criticism. The criticism revolves around the content of the book. This book follows a group of military enlisted as they fight in the Vietnamese war. It covers the different objects that each man carried physically, such as keepsake items or superstitious items, as well as the mental burdens and emotional trauma that they carried. It followed them through the rice patties and the forests and identified the physical and emotional items that each man carried, and what items were added to the things they carried as their mission continued. With the loss of loved ones, frightful wartime experiences, and all of the general wear and tear which takes place during active wartime duty, the burdens and the physical items that the men carried and lost grew in a dramatic fashion, yet one which was individual for each.

There are visceral scenes in the book particularly some surrounding the death of the male members. It was the death, the reference to the haunted men who saw faces of their victims, and the gruesome violence associated with war for which the author received the greatest amount of criticism. Including such visceral detail in a wartime account was not looked down upon, but refusing to differentiate to the audience and the critics alike which of the items actually took place and which were fake was something that many reviewers struggled with. People who reviewed this book believed it there right to know the truth. Those who sought to truly understand what happened during the war and what happened to this man we're frustrated by the indifference he showed in revealing the truth or recognizing their concerns.

Overall this book is a wonderful glimpse into the many styles of writing and the unique ability of authors to cultivate unique environments in the minds of every reader, no matter their level of personal experience. It was one of the few books that were widely received after the war for its account of what really took place.