Pilar Analytical and Narrative Essay

Pilar Carroll

Air Stream

In the book, The Things They Carried, by Tim O’brien, there were a lot of stories about death, and love, and what war was really like. There are multiple changes that happen in the lives of these soldiers. With each change there was a different reaction. But all the changes showed the reaction that, when the world is changing, one can be affected at the same amount when seeing the change happen, and hearing about the change. However, at times people will not acknowledge change to protect themselves.

Jimmy Cross, the Lieutenant is in love with a girl from his college town, Martha. They write each other letters back and forth, but she never asks him about the war, or about anything going on in his life right now. “In those burned letters Martha Had never mentioned the war, except to say, Jimmy, take care of yourself. She wasn’t involved.” (The Things They Carried 23) Martha didn’t want to get involved in the war, because she knows acting about it would put a traumatic picture in her head. It wasn’t how she wanted to see america, and the army. She didn’t want to have a prime source into the gory stories. And the feel the hurt Jimmy feels.

Dave Jensen, a soldier was suppose to kill a vietnamese soldier, but instead he let him go. Later, the soldiers heard that someone else killed the man, and Jensen was relieved. “Later we heard that Strunk died somewhere over Chu Lai, which seemed to relieve Dave Jensen of an enormous weight.” (Friends.13) Dave Jensen was suppose to kill a vietnamese soldier, but did not for some reason. When Jensen heard that the man was dead, he felt relief. Jensen felt relief because the man was dead, and the relief he felt would be the same if he saw in die. All he wanted was the man dead.  

Someone in the platoon died, gilt was being passed."When a man died, there had to be blame.  Jimmy Cross understood this.  You could blame the war… A moment of carelessness or bad judgment or plain stupidity carried consequences that lasted forever." (In the Field.115) When someone dies, everyone has that feeling of regret, though being responsible is deadly. So trying to pin a death on an event or someone else is common, regardless of being in the moment or hearing about it later, there is always something/someone to blame.

Tim O’brien was speaking in an interview, about how things were in the war, talking about behavior and imagination."It's important because the things we imagine determine our behavior in the future. If you're in medical school and you can't imagine putting your hands into pus and gore and blood, I'd say you're not going to finish med school." (Tim O'Brien) People in situations or hearing about situations, have images in their heads when reflecting on the situation. Like reading a non picture book, the reader images the situations, settings, what characters and scenarios look like. So when hearing about changes, or seeing change, there is that same gory image.

The Things they carried shows a clear view on change, and reactions. The book is showing many different scenarios, of change, and many different reactions, from Martha’s neglect, To Jimmy Crosses’ blame. All proving, when the world is changing, one can be affected at the same amount when seeing the change happen, and hearing about the change. However, at times people will not acknowledge change to protect themselves.

Works Cited for Analytical Essay:

O'Brien, Tim. The Things They Carried: A Work of Fiction. New York: Broadway, 1998. Print.

Sawyer, Scott. "In The Name Of Love." Leaderu.com. Mars Hill Review, 1998. Web. 10 Jan. 2015.


Narrative Essay:

“Pilar put that down, we don’t have any money.” My mother has a sad look in her eyes. Knowing those words disappointed her more and more. I didn’t notice, I was mad at her. I just wanted my normal life  back. But she couldn’t take her job. Her, not coming home at until nine pm, the long commute to jersey. Her boss is taking credit for every single thing she would do, not even acknowledging she was there. I did the same exact thing. I blocked out every time she would talk to me about her losing her job. That Christmas, I requested a lot. My world is changing, and I refused to let it, or let it seem apparent.

The only income we had was from my father working and he was working every day, not even taking sick days. But I still payed no attention. I was so used to the lifestyle of getting what I wanted. I was never appreciative. And on Christmas when I opened my presents. I gave a noticeable fake smile when I only got a $100 and a few gifts. My cousin ,got a camera, a kindle. Why couldn’t I have what she had? My mother told me it was only temporary, so I treated it as such. My birthday rolled around, still no job, instead of being sympathetic I was mad. My mother was so wrapped up in this business, and volunteering, it wasn’t bringing home the bacon.

I started to accept that this is forever. I still hated it. I refused to act like we had less money. I flaunted how big my house was, how many cars we have, making and my grandparents taking me to Bermuda for the summer was just the icing on the cake to my “lie”. To me I was poor. We couldn’t afford the food I wanted, or the clothes, So I started working for my neighbors, anything I could do. I started thrifting, but not telling anyone. I needed my image. Friends would ask,”Where did you get that?”, when claiming I didn’t remember, I would feel mad at my family for making my life “hard” making me feel embarrassed because we are “poor”.

At the end of my 10th grade year, I turned 16. Finally! I was old enough to get a real job. I was so convinced, my mother was just lazy, not really trying for a job, when over and over again she would get rejected. I only applied to one job: Chill on the Hill Frozen Yogurt in Chestnut Hill. Mother was telling me to apply to more, but why listen to her? Look at her success rate. After a month they called me back, telling me there were no spots. My mom told me but I still refused to get the picture.

In World history class, we were shown a video that has the percentage of people in The United States, and the average income of that group of people. 1% of the USA has more more money than everyone else combined. When I got home I showed my family the video, and my father showed me where we landed on the graphs. I was finally hit with the reality that we were “poor” and when I said that, in utter disappointment, my mother said,” We are not poor.” Look at the children in Africa, And even some kids who live in Philly. Some kids who went to Wissahickon Charter, some were homeless. You live in a house, with heat, and you never miss a meal, you have parents who love you, and will do everything to protect you,” she started to cry,” We are much richer the most people in the US! So when you would pout and scream because you didn’t get the jacket you wanted, that wasn’t us being poor, that was you being spoiled. I busted my ass to give you children everything you wanted, and you just wanted more. The fact I couldn’t take the work anymore was just icing on the cake to teach you all a lesson about what you want and what you need. Most of these kids with the new phones, new clothes, most of their parents can’t even pay the electric bill, so you need to get your priorities straight.”

After that, I finally got it. If I would have stopped to hear what she was saying, and stop being scared about the idea of being poor, I would have realized that we weren't. I would have realized I was being judgmental and selfish to my mother. She was trying as hard as she could to get a job but she realizes that we don’t need that the things we want. And I needed to realize that too, If only I had listened sooner.  

Comments (4)

Brittany Cooper (Student 2016)
Brittany Cooper

PP I love this ! - What grabbed my attention is that I could hear my mom's voice telling my the same exact thing. I was in that same position of not getting what you want when you want it.
- What I learned about the student author is that she is very determined to get her point across. - Her style of writing allows you to understand what is happening in the narrative. You can easily relate to what is happening in her story to a personal experience you may have happen to you.

Stephanie Dyson (Student 2016)
Stephanie Dyson

I really enjoyed your narrative; it seemed to be a personal anecdote about something that a lot of people would still keep low key. The way you tied the analytical essay and your narrative together was spot on. Along with the connection, the language between you narrative and your essay was, as Adowa mentioned, vivid and clear. You did a great job of summarizing the text; I enjoyed this.

Felix D'Hermillon (Student 2016)
Felix D'Hermillon
  1. I liked in the personal essay that you said "bringing home the bacon"
  2. I never got the impression that you were struggling. You always seemed pretty well off.
  3. I liked how you made the quotes and explanations short and choppy. It kept the conversation flowing.