The Psychology Of War Essay

2181 words - 9 pages

“In war, there are no unwounded solders.” Often, people tend to look at the physical aspects of war, such as demanding fitness required or the numerous bodily injuries one can suffer. While the physical aspects of battle are horrifying, the mental aspect of war is just as bad if not worse. For centuries, war has forced young men away from their families and loved ones to fight in battle often in harsh conditions. Being removed from loved ones in order to put your life on the line is very mentally demanding. Three works of literature really bring out the full negative effects of battle both physically and psychologically. “Othello” by William Shakespeare, short story “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien and the poem “The Battle” by poet Louis Simpson really stress the negative mental aspects of fighting in a battle. Some of the many common links throughout the stories is that they all include various symbols, vivid imagery, and explicit figurative language to display intense emotion dealing with the horrors of war. These writers proves that the psychological aspect even causes the downfall of characters rather than any kind of physical harm. The literary terms proves that the psychological effect war gives is worse then the demanding physical challenge. Scholarly articles and examples from the text of each story go a long way to prove this.
Tim O’Brien’s popular short story “The Things They Carried” tells the stories about a platoon of foot soldiers during the Vietnam War. Stories within the text do its job of recalling emotional damage that comes from battle. Through the story, we learn that the characters carry an array of many different things that are both physical objects and things that are intangible. Physically the soldiers carry guns, ammunition, and survival equipment and on the other hand, emotionally they carry fear, memories and
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expectations. Through each chapter of the story, the reader learns that the emotional baggage is much more difficult to carry around then the physical. The character Jimmy Cross is a good example of how psychological baggage is worse. Jimmy Cross is the leader of his platoon, but he does not bring out a clear sense of toughness one would expect of a leader. Cross often spends his time daydreaming about Martha, the woman he loves. Cross is the leader, which means that he is supposed to display some sort of toughness and be a strong example. He becomes so overwhelmed with grief when one of his men die, and even goes as far as taking responsibility when one of them depart. Martha is important to the story because Jimmy cannot stop think about her, he is madly in love with her, however the feeing is not mutual. Jimmy knows that she does not love him and that makes him so distraught that he can only focus on that heartbreak throughout. This proves that even in a war where they must move around a lot and be physically alert, he can only focus on the emotional...

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