The Things They Carried: Enemies & Friends

In: English and Literature

Submitted By jaydragonn
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The Things They Carried:
Enemies & Friends In both of the short stories, enemies and friends, the pressures of war twist the way that humans comport themselves around each other, causing for two men fighting on the same side to fight one another over a dull reason, because of a missing knife. O’brien shows how immaturely Jensen and Strunk act in times of war, and its because of their immaturity that causes them to act out in such an aggressive fashion towards each other. It is said that in and around the war in Vietnam the soldiers would fight each other to release tension of perhaps getting attacked by the enemy. In the story all laws and social order are left to the soldiers to decide whether it is wrong or right. If the soldiers were back in America the government to show justice and to assign guilt to the lawbreaker would punish anyone that broke the law. However, in “Enemies” Jensen and Strunk do not try to solve issues by talking it out like civilized men, they start to fight each other which shows that the social code is not in place in their dispute. Jensen thinks that Strunk will retaliate for breaking his nose in the fight they had over a stolen jackknife. Strunk on the other hand thinks that justice has been made and they are even because he did in fact steal his knife. By Strunk believing that he go what he deserved when Jensen settles the score between them shows that both men are able to take matters in to their own hands and take responsibility for their actions. But, because the social code is broken they both do things out of guilt rather than justice. It is ironic that in the beginning of the story “enemies” they are fighting violently and gruesomely over a knife while being on the same side in the war. Then in “friends” they become friends, they even made pacts between each other, but at the end of “friends” Jenses is relieved rather…...

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