The Things They Carried - Study Guide Chapter 5 Summary & Analysis

Tim O'Brien
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Chapter 5 Summary

One day, Dave Jensen and Lee Strunk get into a fistfight because Jensen believed Strunk had stolen his jackknife. Jensen, much bigger than Strunk, manages to break the smaller man's nose. Under normal circumstances, things might have ended there, but Vietnam has made Dave Jensen paranoid, and he believes Strunk is out for revenge. Finally, he can't stand it any longer, so he breaks his own nose with the butt of his pistol and asks Strunk if they are now square with each other. Strunk agrees, but in the morning he laughingly says, "The man's crazy .... I stole his ... jackknife."

Chapter 5 Analysis

This chapter and the next are very short and, in some ways, work together. In chapter 5, we see how the war distorts what is true - Strunk wasn't after revenge, but Jensen's belief that he was drove him to enact the revenge upon himself. The...

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This section contains 174 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)
Buy The Things They Carried Study Guide
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Short Stories for Students
The Things They Carried from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.