I think Tim O'Brien tells the story of Henry Dobbins and the panty hose to show that even though soldiers have are tough, they have a soft side too. In their relationships we see their isolation and loneliness, their rage and fear. Dobbins showed the men that is you believe in something so much it can actually be true. Kiowa A compassionate and talkative soldier; he demonstrates the importance of talking about one's problems and traumatic experiences. Azar A young, rather unstable soldier who engages in needless and frequent acts of brutality; in one story, he blows up an orphan puppy that Ted Lavender had adopted by strapping it to a , then detonating it. He later believes that his obsession led to the death of Ted Lavender. They miss their families, their girlfriends and buddies; they miss the lives they left back home.
Kiowa also seems more at peace because of his religion. And in a way, it's extremely flattering, and other times, it can be depressing. Some people, like Henry Dobbins, held on to little mementos to get them through the war. In August, he tripped a Bouncing Betty, which failed to detonate. Mitchell Sanders blames Jimmy Cross for Kiowa's death.
Placebo Henry Dobbins' stockings clearly have a type of placebo effect on him and on the other men who witness their 'magic. In both of the chapters Stockings and Church we learn that Dobbins actually has a pretty big soft spot. It is a beautiful, peaceful place. He does say, though, that he enjoys being in a church. A few monks bring them supplies.
Tim O'Brien crafts an artfully unique story in The Things They Carried, from the scraps of an experience of war that is not particularly more extraordinary or different than others who served in Vietnam through innovative application of style. The importance of the stockings is established in the first story of the collection, which shares its title with the title of O'Brien's book. When he sees the body, the guilt really hits home. The soldiers would carry these because they believe that clinging to arbitrary things protects them against something as arbitrary as death. Critics often cite this distinction when commenting on O'Brien's artistic aims in The Things They Carried and, in general, all of his fiction about Vietnam, claiming that O'Brien feels that the realities of the Vietnam War are best explored in fictional form rather than the presentation of precise facts. Everyone's flipping out, and then, at dark, Morty shows up again. Kiowa's words don't get through to O'Brien, though.
In many ways he was like America itself, big and strong, full of good intentions, a roll of fat jiggling at his belly, slow of foot but always plodding along, always there when you needed him, a believer in the virtues of simplicity and directness and hard labor. He is made uneasy by camping at the pagoda, arguing that it is bad luck to camp at a religious site. In the beginning of the story, she is something recognizable to both the soldiers and the reader: a normal American girl who wants a family. Innocence The Vietnam War both defiles and preserves the innocence of those who participate. And for Kiowa, staying at a church was bad because of how sacred it was to him.
Kiowa was O'Brien's partner, and woke O'Brien up while it was still dark for the last watch. They kill on command, which makes their crimes seem somehow mitigated. His former girlfriend has married someone else, his closest friends are dead. He shoots at the sandbag again. The pantyhose are Dobbins' good luck charm even though the girl doesn't even love him. Near the border, he encounters an elderly stranger who allows him to work through his internal struggle.
It was his one eccentricity. Jorgenson panics and rolls for cover, terrified. O'Brien is sent away to recover and is fine. They are out of place in Vietnam where the soldiers have neither women nor refinement. Women, too, can be driven mad.
Macho characters like seem absurd to O'Brien, because O'Brien believes no one is actually courageous. I believe Kiowa objected to the church simply beecause it is sacred ground. The occupation of the pagoda represents the occupation of the entire country. In this story, the madness takes the form of a transformation from one familiar literary stock figure to another: the innocent Madonna figure to the sexy seductress. They respected him though they don't speak the same language. He also blames Cross because he needs someone to blame. He concludes that, in the end, the truth of a story doesn't matter so much as what the story is trying to say.
He tells him that all O'Brien really wanted to was to pretend to be a soldier again, when he's really just a has-been. Not believing in a Hereafter makes senseless killing during a mortal lifetime even worse. Sometimes he slept with the stockings against his face. Morty gets polio and then becomes paralyzed. There was more to their existence than fighting and warfare. Whenever we saddled up for a late-night ambush, putting on our helmets and flak jackets, Henry Dobbins would make a ritual out of arranging the nylons around his neck, carefully tying a knot, draping the two leg sections over his left shoulder.
When O'Brien's daughter, Kathleen, was nine she asked him if he had ever killed anyone. O'Brien spends ample time describing how he remembers Dobbins as a simple, jovial man. It feels good when you just sit there, like you're in a forest and everything's really quiet, except there's still this sound you can't hear. He nearly cries, but gets it together. Then he asserts that the stockings will still protect him, despite the girl's abandonment of him. In August, he tripped a Bouncing Betty, which failed to detonate. Tim O'Brien Stockings by Tim O'Brien Henry Dobbins was a good man, and a superb soldier, but sophistication was not his strong suit.