He could not live with such embarrassment among his peers; he further went to fake a toothache and had the tooth removed.
Norman Bowker is introduced as a courageous soldier who is experienced and who fought ‘bravely’ against his enemies.
But the young O'Brien found that he had to go to Vietnam - his own honor would not let him run away.
Taking on adult responsibility is one frightening way we lose our innocence.
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In his book, O’Brien writes, “Men killed, and died because they were embarrassed not to’’ (21). Taking off to Canada showed that he had self-courage as he took a stand against the war and did what he could to avoid it especially when everyone else did the opposite.
This text shows that men in the Vietnam War did not go to fight just because they were brave; they did it because they were afraid to be called cowards and to be humiliated in front of their peers. Cowardice as portrayed by O’Brien himself was evident when he considered entering the war “... We also see that the main reason that kept him from running from the war was the fear that people in his hometown would call him a coward.
Sometimes, children lose their innocence early because of child abuse, illness, or war.
Though the author of The Things they Carried was not a child, he and many of his fellow soldiers felt unprepared for war in several ways.