Andrew’s Choice in Brien’s “The Things They Carried”

A war is something that may change human life considerably: it is not an army, where young people just learn to serve and complete certain duties; it is not a game, where everything is according to the already established rules; and it is not a movie, where a director may stop the action to perform it once again. Wars can make people more courageous or, vice versa, more cowardly; wars help to analyze human actions and learn people’s souls; unfortunately, wars can take lives without any warnings. This is why when people go away to war, even some trifles become significant, and people start appreciating each minute of their lives. Andrew is going away for one year to war; he makes one of the most serious decisions in his life, and now, it is high time to pick out two things to carry with: one of them should be tangible and one of them should be intangible.

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As for tangible objects in wars, they can be quite different. Some soldiers prefer to take some things, which may remind them about their relatives and families: photos, letters, or watches. However, with time, lots of technologies have appeared to make this life easier. Andrew is a young man, who goes with the times; this is why he prefers to use innovations as often as possible. So, the tangible thing, Andrew is going to take to war, is a mobile phone. With the help of this object, he gets a chance to look at the pictures of his family and remember about them all the time; he can also record their voices to be inspired. Of course, it is better to keep it silent and turn off any possible sounds. Even more, this object may be rather useful during the actions: when an ambush takes place, everyone tries to keep silent, it is possible to switch on the phone suddenly and distract the enemy to take the most appropriate positions and win this enemy. Also, it is possible to call another group of people to warn about a possible attack from the enemy’s side. So, nowadays, it is quite possible to use mobile phones not only to enjoy, relax, and get inspired, but also to help others achieve good results and win the enemy.

When we talk about the intangible things on wars, we should think about which one can be the most helpful here. For Andrew, responsibility turns out to be the most significant intangible thing in war. Responsibility towards his motherland, responsibility towards his family, responsibility towards his companions-in-arms, and, finally, responsibility towards himself – all this will certainly help to make the right choice and not to lose the battle. Of course, some people do not want to be responsible for someone or something (Brien, 1998, p. 167), however, this very point can make a man stronger. It is never too late to learn to be responsible, and if this object is taken to war, a person gets more chances to practice and use it properly.

War is one of the most dangerous things, people’s actions may lead to. And the most terrible fact is that people serve as the major reasons for wars; people create such conditions to start a war and kill. Human deaths, grief, losses, suffering, and loneliness – these are the results of wars. Maybe, some things, taken to war, can make these times more pleasant, if it is possible of course, or, at least, safe for a while. Andrew’s choice to carry a mobile phone and responsibility with him is rather understandable and even provokes him to think once again how terrible wars are.

Reference List

Brien, Tim. The Things They Carried. New York: Broadway. 1998.

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"Andrew's Choice in Brien's "The Things They Carried"." StudyCorgi, 19 Jan. 2021,

1. StudyCorgi. "Andrew's Choice in Brien's "The Things They Carried"." January 19, 2021.


StudyCorgi. "Andrew's Choice in Brien's "The Things They Carried"." January 19, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "Andrew's Choice in Brien's "The Things They Carried"." January 19, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Andrew's Choice in Brien's "The Things They Carried"'. 19 January.

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