O"Brien explains a Viet Cong soldier whom he has actually killed, using meticulous physical detail, consisting of descriptions of his wounds. Then O"Brien imagines the life story of this guy and imagines that he was a scholar that felt an duty to protect his village.

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Azar comments to O"Brien around the dead soldier and also is sent ameans by Kiowa, who senses that O"Brien is upset. Kiowa tells O"Brien to stop staring at the body and also offers justifications for what has actually taken place. O"Brien proceeds to imagine that the guy he killed was devoted to his research studies, that he created poems, and that he fell in love with his classmate. O"Brien sees that the man"s fingernails and also hair are clean and guesses that he has been a soldier for only someday. Later Kiowa tells O"Brien that he is looking better; also later on he tells O"Brien that he need to talk about it, and again tries to gain the disturbed O"Brien to talk.

O"Brien"s daughter, Kathleen, asked him when she was nine years old if he had actually ever before eliminated anyone. He told her no, but hopes that she will certainly ask aobtain as an adult. Aobtain, O"Brien explains the Viet Cong soldier and tells just how he saw him strategy through the morning fog. He recalls being terrified, and also that his action was automatic, not political and also not individual. He believes, as well, that if he had actually not thrown the grenade, the Vietnamese soldier would certainly have actually passed by without occurrence.


The central layout of this vignette is time. "O"Brien" the soldier is frozen in a minute in time, recalling the whole background of the dead Vietnamese male while the American troop of soldiers are all moving forward, preparing for one more day at battle. The one word that finest describes the mood of this vignette is shock. "O"Brien" is in shock from killing the male, and also the remainder of the people is relocating roughly him, all in speech and creativity.

O"Brien has his two Amerihave the right to comrades, Azar and Kiowa, attempt to move roughly "O"Brien." Azar sees only a fallen opponent and compliments "O"Brien" on a thostormy task — he cannot understand also what "O"Brien" is feeling. Kiowa is more sympathetic, offering textbook comments, such as switching locations through the dead male and that he would have actually been killed anymethod, in order to consingle "O"Brien" whom he believes regrets his action. The fact is that "O"Brien" never expresses what he is feeling — joy, regret, pain, confusion, or any kind of certain emotion. He never states a word throughout the story. His shock is all that we can really understand, expressed through his silence.

Much of this vignette is complete of the individual background of the Vietnamese soldier, start via his birtharea, moving via his career, love life, and ultimate enlisting in the army. It additionally details some of his really hopes and ambitions. O"Brien offers this history to make the dead guy more realistic — the audience cannot simply dismiss him as a body or an adversary, yet have to think of him as a man. This is yet an additional means O"Brien renders the Vietnam War more personal than historical or political.

On the other hand, the history of the dead Vietnamese soldier is fictional. We know that there is no way that "O"Brien" can know all that he thinks, or even most of it. O"Brien is again playing via the notion of truth: The personal background renders the soldier truer to us, more of a real perkid, but none of what "O"Brien" expresses is necessarily fact. The fact of the fallen soldier is left as much as the reader. We deserve to decide whether we feel for this male or desire to think of him just as a fallen enemy.

The main picture in this story is the star-shaped wound. It is repetitive numerous times throughout the vignette. The star could symbolize hope, choose a wishing star, but O"Brien has actually inverted its definition by tying it in with fatality. It is surely no coincidence that the star-shaped wound is on the soldier"s eye, for it is with the eyes that men both gaze upon the stars and also check out the approaching enemy. The Vietnamese soldier obviously did not check out the risk he was in; possibly he was gazing more upon the stars, upon his future, than on his present instance. In this instance, the stars betrayed him, and also he has actually no future. In this story, O"Brien changes the definition of looking to the future and also the hopefulness of the star via his usage of this image.

The "Ambush" vignette collapses all time in between the suffer of "O"Brien" in Vietnam and also O"Brien the writer informing a story. Tright here are three unique points of time referred to in the vignette: the time when his daughter, as a child, asked him the question around killing a man; the moment that the writer is telling his story; and also the moment of the story itself, some twenty years earlier in Vietnam. For the author, though, any perspective that he now has actually is shed in the informing of the tale, and the confusion and fear that he felt as a soldier then is intimately entangled through the regret and embarrassment he currently feels with reflection. He is as unsure now as then, and even though he acted even more out of instinct as soon as he lobbed the grenade and also insists that he did not ponder "morality or politics or armed forces duty," his reevaluation currently forces O"Brien to reckon his action versus those gauges.

This story, possibly even more vividly than the majority of of the novel, puts us in the mind and also body of "O"Brien" the soldier. We see through his eyes and share his thoughts. Much of what O"Brien describes is formulaic, such as not feeling hate, acting on instinct, feelings of regret afterwards, and ethical confusion that lingers. What is unique about O"Brien"s treatment of this killing is exactly how he introduces his daughter into the equation. Instead of a male reflecting and also reconciling his actions to himself, he currently hregarding justify them to a brand-new audience — one who looks to him for moral guidance. His response is to lie to her and to wait till writing this vignette to undo that lie. O"Brien provides no indication that he has actually ever lied to himself about what taken place. Even instantly after the killing, once Kiowa tries to convince him that he did nopoint wrong, "O"Brien" insists that "namong it mattered." He concentrated only on the body, on the physical damages done, not the ethical effects.

So, contending in this vignette are O"Brien"s desires to understand also his very own actions and his must relate them to his daughter, and also move beyond what he did. The last image of the soon-to-be dead soldier walking towards O"Brien and also smiling is an act of revenge. The dead soldier not only lingers in O"Brien"s thoughts, however also seems to gain that O"Brien cannot end up "sorting it out." We never understand if O"Brien is seeking forgiveness or if he thinks he demands it, but whatever will certainly not leave him is what maintained him from answering his daughter truthtotally. Perhaps that itself is what provides him compose the story, searching for some type of closure to either his killing or his lying.


Trung sisters (d. 42 C.E.) Trung Trac and Trung Nhi, were daughters of a powerful Vietnamese lord that lived at the beginning of the initially century.

Tran Hung Dao Famous basic that beat two Mongol invasions in late thirteenth-century Vietnam.

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Tot Dong Field in 1426 wbelow the Vietnamese routed the Chinese. Two years later, the Chinese well-known Vietnam"s independence.