The Things They Carried (1)
The story stating what the soldiers carried (both figurative and physical) and how much they weighed. Also outlines the relationship between Jimmy Cross and Martha and explains Ted Lavender's death.
Jimmy Cross visits Tim after the war and they talk about Cross's love Martha and about Ted Lavender's death. Cross states he will always love her and maybe she'll come running back to him when she reads Tim's stories
Insisting that sometimes war is less violent and more sweet, O'Brien shares disconnected memories of the war. Azar gives a bar of chocolate to a little boy with a plastic leg. Mitchell Sanders sits under a tree, picking lice off his body and depositing them in an envelope addressed to his Ohio draft board. Every night, Henry Dobbins and Norman Bowker dig a foxhole and play checkers. Basically a string of anecdotes.
On The Rainy River (37)
When Tim gets drafted to the war he is super scared so he flees to Canada and stays at an elderly man named Elroy Berdahl's cabin for a while. Then the man takes him on a boat ride and Tim makes a decision to either make a swim for canada or stay on the boat and go off to war. Ultimately Tim decides to stay on the boat because he "was too embarrassed not to." This was the whole cowardice thing: "i was a coward. I went to the war."
Lee Strunk and Dave Jensen get in a fight about a stolen jacknife. Jensen beat the hell out of Strunk and broke his nose. Jensen started to get paranoid that Strunk would get revenge. He goes crazy for a bit then break his own nose so they would be even.
Now Strunk and Jensen trust each other a ton so they made a pact that one would kill the other if they were sevearly wounded so they wouldnt have to live life in a wheelchair or something. Strunk gets his leg blown off but he begs Jensen to not kill him. Strunk is loaded into the helicopter and Jensen is relieved to hear he didnt survive.
How to Tell a True War Story (64)
Rat Kiley's friend is killed so he writes his siser a beautiful letter but the sister never replies (bitch). He uses Kiley's actions as an example of the amorality of war stories. True war stories are impossible to tell. the moral of a true war story cannot be separated from the story itself. A true war story cannot be made general or abstract. The significance of the story is whether or not you believe it in your stomach. A true war story can be identified by the questions one asks afterward
The Dentist (82)
Curt Lemon isnt afraid of anything, except for the dentist. When he goes to the dentist he faints right in front of him. He is embarrassed by this, and later he goes back to the dentist and demands to get his teeth pulled.
Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong (85)
Mark Fossie sends his sweetheart, Mary Anne Bell to vietnam. She is fascinated by vitenam and the villages and the war. Fossie tries to control her by planning mariage and whatnot, but ultimetly she becomes one of the Greenies and wears necklaces of human tongues and stuff. Eventually she wanders off into the jungle to never be found again. Parallels to HoD. Story told from Rat Kiley.
Henry Dobbins wears his girlfriend's stockings around his neck, claiming they are lucky. Dobbin's girlfirend eventually dumps him, but he still wears the stockings around his neck because "the magic doesnt go away"
The men stay in a church for a week or so and the monks treat them very well. Dobbins claims that even though he isn't religious, he would like to be a preacher to be able to talk to people and be nice and kind, but not all the hard stuff or all the religious stuff. Kiowa States that even though he is religious, he would not want to be a preacher.
The Man I Killed (118)
Tim describes the life of the man he killed. Also describes the physical attributes to him after he was killed by the grenade. Tim feels really bad for killing the man, and his buddies are trying to make him feel better.
Tim's daughter asks him if he's ever killed anyone and he said no. then he describes the actual event of Tim killing the man in detail, like he seems to remember everything. O'Brien states that none of it mattered. Even now, twenty years later, he still hasn't finished sorting it out. He says that he sees the young man coming through the fog sometimes
a Vietnamese girl is dancing all weird in her burning village. They all don't know why she is dancing. Azar makes fun of the dancing later. Dobbins is pissed and beats him up and tells him to "dance right"
Speaking of Courage (131)
Norman Bowker drives around a lake in his hometown in Iowa. He desperately wants to tell someone about the war and about the death of Kiowa, but feels that no one will listen/have the right reaction, etc. He notices how the town doesnt change much, etc.
Tim's narration now commenting on "Speaking of Courage." We learn Norman hung himself bc he couldnt find a meaningful use of his life after the war. Tim talks about how Norman wants him to write a story about a man driving around a lake and how he wants to talka about the war but he cant. Tim writes it, but Norman doesnt like it bc it doesnt include Kiwoa's story. Tim rewrites the story and states the Norman was in no way responsible for Kiowa's death.
In the Field (155)
the morning after Kiwoa's death and the boys are druging through the muck trying to find his body. Everyone is really sad and everyone feels responsible. Cross finishes composing the letter in his head and reflects that he never wanted the responsibility of leadership in the first place—he signed up for Reserve Officers Training Corps without giving thought to the consequences. He blames himself for making the wrong decision, concluding that he should have followed his first impulse and removed the men from the field. A young soldier is sobbing and searching everywhere for Kiowa because Kiowa had a picture of his ex-girlfirend with him. They find Kiowa's body, and the young soldier tries to tell Cross his side of the story but he doesnt listen
Good Form (171)
O'Brien talks about the difference between real truth and story truth. He says he wants us to feel what he felt and because of that, sometimes story truth is truer than happening truth. He says that what stories can do is make things present. Imagining Kathleen asking him if he's ever killed anyone, O'Brien envisions saying yes and then envisions saying no.
Field Trip (173)
Tim returns to Vietnam with his daughter and back to the site of Kiowa's death. Tim goes for a swim and leaves Kiowa's moccasins at the site.
The Ghost Soldiers (180)
Tim gets shot and a newbie medic named Bobby Jorgenson does not do a good job and Tim is left with a nasty wound (gangrene). Tim seeks to get revenge for what the medic did. So he plays a really scary prank on the guy while he is on night duty. In the end, Tim and the medic make up
Night Life (208)
The men receive a warning of possible danger, and are requested to sleep all day and march all night. The night is so dark it drives people insane, especially Rat Kiley, so he shoots himself in the foot to get out of it.
The Lives of the Dead (213)
O'Brien has been at war for only four days when the platoon is fired on by a village near the South China Sea. O'Brien has been in love with Linda ever since he was 9 years old. Linda started wearing a red cap, and when it was yanked off it was revealed that she was bald due to chemotherapy for a brain tumor. Linda comforts O'Brien in his sleep, telling him she isn't dead.O'Brien says that in Vietnam, the soldiers devised ways to make the dead seem less dead—they kept them alive with stories, such as the stories of Ted Lavender's tranquilizer use or Curt Lemon's trick-or-treating. O'Brien remembers that he saw Linda's body in the funeral home, but that it upset him because it didn't seem real. The dead live on with stories. Coping mechanism.