Essay on Emotional Experiences after Vietnam War

Published: 2021-07-02
882 words
4 pages
8 min to read
University of Richmond
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For several Americans, the Vietnam and Afghanistan war is over and forgotten. However, many yet endure, and few veterans have felt overlooked, undervalued, and even oppressed. Their physical disabilities and war experiences have changed their lives. Many people find it hard even to adjust to regular citizen life. Amid the war, many people were exposed to confusion, pain, anxiety and even hatred. The author O'Brien's' used the book The Things They Changed' to tell stories concerning the war. However, there are several films like Platoon, My Lai Massacre, and Restrepo that shows incidents during this horrific wars. In this essay, I will analyze how several characters demonstrate how people have changed due to the experience of this war. These characters are Mary Anne Bell and Jimmy Cross in The Things They Carried' and Chris Taylor in Platoon film.

In the book The Things They Carried' O'Brien's' used the character Mary Anne Bell to symbolize the outcast, somebody who does not have a place where she belongs. She underlines what happens when somebody's environment influences her. Mary Anne is likewise significant of change, particularly how people lose innocence due to war involvement. In the song The Sweetheart of Song Tra Bong' she changed her personality. When Mary Anne entered the Vietnam's harsh condition, her actual identity is seen as a very tough woman, perhaps more than several troopers battling in the war. Her braveness is shown on the occasion where she walked at night through the ambush which was very dangerous even for the other soldiers in the war. Mary Anna Bell had an amazing personality before joining Vietnam. However, this is a positive impression of how the war brought up her character that many people did not know. The progressions that Mary Anne experience in the war represents how many people experience changes after a war in their country (O'Brien p.78).

The author Tim O'Brien uses Jimmy Cross in his book as a representation of the war, notably its absence of important structure. He is portrayed by a lack of an apparent reason. His part as a pioneer of Alpha Company ought to be that of a solid pioneer who gives his troops clear directions for increasing quantifiable favorable position over their adversary. However, the way of the Vietnam War makes this sort of authority impossible because the means to accomplish the target of the war are indistinct and chaotic. Therefore, this character is seen as a weak leader since he never exhibits authority, rather he has conceded it by declaration. He lives believing that he is a pioneer, yet he is always apprehensive of that part. For instance, Jimmy Cross endeavors to convince himself of his skill by depending on standard working strategy after Lavender is murdered as a way to free himself from sentiments of individual culpability in Lavender's demise and also his woeful destitution for Martha's affection. Rather than focusing on the war, Jimmy Cross is just thinking about Martha who was his old fiancee. Additionally, instead of helping his troop to look for Kiowa's body, he was wasting time thinking about what he will tell Kiowa's parents. After the war, Jimmy Cross carries the sentiments of his only love for Martha. He also concentrates on life outside the war, but still feels an overwhelming, deliberate weight of blame as a result of the war (O'Brien, p.200).

Chris Taylor is the main character in Platoon film. He is inexperienced, principled, a young man with a great urge to join the military. Chris Taylor went through an essential change in his life and dropped out of school to enroll in the army. He had high expectation of getting himself and what matters to him. In his life, he has always been sheltered, however, wanted to do something that would please him. At first, he was terrified and nervous for he did not know what was awaiting him. Upon his entry into this war, he was to encounter the unforgiving and sufferings of war. Therefore, in the war, Chris encounters did not lead him to observe something to be glad for, rather, he has turned into a heartless killer. This change displayed when he killed Sargent Barnes (Robert, p.45). The emotional and physical injuries he has suffered in Vietnam serves to help him remember the dishonorable dehumanization he persevered during the war. The soldiers who fought in Vietnam War still have this physical and mental trauma.


Many war stories demonstrate the greatness of war as well as the army bravery. War is a condition of outfitted clash between various countries or states. The conflict among nations can be settled, but the experiences in the people's mind live forever. Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried' is an intense blend of certainty and fiction through imagination and depiction. O'Brien enables the audience to feel the soldier's hardships in an emotional country and also in the war. However, wars have had a crucial role in psychiatric past in various ways. It was the mental effect of the world wars as shell stun that upheld the viability of mental intercessions in the mid-twentieth century.


O'Brien, T. (2012). The Things They Carried: A Work of Fiction. Bridgewater, NJ: Distributed by Paw Prints/Baker & Taylor.

Robert T. (2005). The War Film. New Brunswick, N.J: Rutgers University Press.

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