Friendships and companionship are a large part of what keeps humans mentally stable. Whether they admit it or not, people can’t function without some type of companionship. When people are under pressure and in tough situation they start to change their behavior and the way they act toward certain people. People manipulate each other in order to get what they want. Friendships aren’t seen as an outlet but as a necessary tool for survival. When under pressure and hard circumstance people don’t look for friends for genuine companionship but to fulfil their own selfish needs
In the book “The Things They Carried” two characters named Jensen and Strunk became good friends after a series of events. They didn’t become friends straight off the back. Before they became friends they got into a brawl over a stolen knife that Strunk was caught stealing from jensen. “Eventually, after a week of this, the strain began to create problems. Jensen couldn’t relax. Like fighting two different wars..”. The pressure of war made it feel like he was fighting two battles. He was trying to protect himself against his known enemies of the war and his own comrades. The circumstances changed Struck and made him steal from someone who was on his very own team.
When Jensen saw Struck stealing his knife he became angry and the two got into a fight. Jensen won the fight and broke Strunk’s nose. After that happened the two became very suspicious of each other. There were no threats, no vows of revenge, just silent tension between them that made Jensen take special precautions”. To avoid all the tension they decided to just become friends. This was a smart move because they both had one less person who was out to kill them. They didn’t become friends because they particularly liked each other but because it was a safe choice and it benefited themselves. They knew that being in war was all about survival, not victory.
In the world many people are vindictive motives and may pretend to like you to get what they want. It may be for money, sex, or even for connections to other people. In the book there are some representations of that theory. Jensen and Strunk used each other and helped each other get through the war. They would make fox holes to sleep in together and they eventually learned how to trust each other. They even made a vow that if one of them became wheelchair bound that the able one would kill the injured one to put them out of their misery. Later on when Strunk actually gets his leg blown off, Jensen fails to fulfill the vow and do what he promised he would do. When Strunk sought out to get medical attention he was pronounced dead. “Later we heard that Strunk died somewhere over Chu Lai, which seemed to relieve Dave Jensen of an enormous weight”. When Jensen finds out that Stunk is dead he is relieved. Jensen didn’t show any signs of grief for his lost and very close friend. Since Strunk was now dead there was nothing else he could possibly do for Jensen. Stuck was no longer a valuable contact for Jensen.
Sometimes friendships aren’t all about the laughs, the memories, and companionship. Sometimes friendships are what’s just simply necessary in order to survive in tough situations. When things aren’t going well people will look to other people for help and they won’t think twice about stabbing someone in the back to get what they need.
Fear is one of the most harmful things in the world. Fear has held many from pursuing the goals that they were put on this earth to fulfill. In many moments in my life I’ve been afraid to do somethings because of what people might think of me. I’ve found myself in the same place when I could be experiencing new levels in life. A character that I admire in the book “The Things They Carried” is Tim O’brien. In the beginning of the book he talks about his fear of going to war after her found out that he was drafted into the Vietnam War. Tim O’brien says that the summer was the worse one of his life. Tim O’Brien didn’t have any excuses to get out of going. The only choice he had was to run away or face his fears. Tim O’Brien decided to face his fears and be strong and fight for his country.
In my life I have been challenged to come out of my comfort zone. When I was a freshman two classes in my grade were asked to perform at the Wilma theater. I was in a group with people that were in my class and we were talking about our families. I was nervous about performing there and speaking up in front of my classmates. It was a new school, in a new environment, and with very new and interesting people. The day we had to perform I was contemplating whether or not I was coming to school. I really wanted to stay home and avoid the whole situation, especially since I was talking about a very touchy situation which was my dad. I was afraid to open up about my personal life and I was way too concerned about what others might think of me. Anyway I built up enough courage to come to school and perform at the Wilma Theater. I may have froze on stage but I did it and went through with it.
Another character building situation was a church. At church I’m very involved with the choir and praise and worship team. I stated the singing with the children’s choir when I was around five and I started the praise and worship team when I was about eleven. When I was eleven my church took a big hit. A beloved member, Alma Blain had passed. This was an awesome women. She preached, directed the choir, and could throw down in the kitchen on Sunday afternoons. Everyone just loved her and after she passed the church wasn’t the same. After her passing all of her daughters left who were also very involved in the church. One of her daughters was the organist and the other one was our church drummer. And along with them leaving about half of the church’s regular members left too. It was up to the faithful few to get the church up and running again. We needed a new organist, drummer, choir direction, and new praise and worship leaders. I loved my church and wanted to help but it just seemed like I was too young to fill any of the positions. I was only eleven and barely even knew my time tables. Anyway, my mom encouraged me to join the praise and worship team with her. I didn’t really want to do it but I liked singing so I tried it. A few other members were on the praise and worship team too but they were around eight year older than me. To see this was sort of intimidating. I started off shy but as I grew up my voice has gotten stronger and I’ve come to love what I do. I have developed a bond with the other members and together we have worked together to build our church back up. Just as Tim O’brien had to step up to defend his country I had to step up and take a role in my church,
Ever since I was ten years old I’ve been going to Teen Haven Camp. Me and my childhood best friend started going at a young age and loved it. They had great food, the staff was nice, and the activities were fun. The camp didn’t have a lot of money or fancy things but, the friends you made and the people you met is what kept you coming back. When I was thirteen my camp director Chanea asked me to become a junior counselor. Some of the old counselors had graduated high school and were going to college. They needed new kids to fill their places. When Chanea asked me I was happy that she considered me as being a good candidate considering my young age of thirteen. I immediately said yes. Afterward, I began to think of the duties of my job. The camp went up to the age of seventeen and I was only thirteen. That meant I had to help and be over girls that were significantly older than me. “This job may be harder than I think” I thought to myself. But, I went through it anyway. I enjoyed my job as a junior counselor and continued doing it until the camp closed and I was the age of sixteen. There may have been some ups and downs during those three years but I was glad that I stuck it out until the end. It was proud that I never gave up.
The challenges in life make people stronger, wiser, and better than they were before. Without those experiences I would not be the person that I am today. I may have had to shed some tears to get where I am but, I don’t regret any of my decisions. Tim O’brien said in an interview, “My conscience kept telling me not to go, but my whole upbringing told me I had to. That horrible summer made me a writer”. Without him going to War he would have not be where he is today. Tim O’brien has won many awards and honors for his creativeness in writing skills. He’s won the National Book Award for Fiction in 1979 and he’s won The Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts, US & Canada in 1981. He also has written over seven books. If Tim O’Brien never went to war he wouldn’t have or be where he is today. Tim O’Brien has encouraged me to take on every challenge and obstacle with the best of my ability.
The Book “The Things They Carried”
Bruckner, D.J. "A Storyteller For the War That Won't End." New York Times Online. The New York Times. April 3, 1990. Web. October 20, 2009.
O'Brien, Tim. The Things They Carried: A Work of Fiction. New York: Broadway, 1998. Print.