The Things They Carried - Study Guide Chapter 21 Summary & Analysis

Tim O'Brien
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Chapter 21 Summary

The men of Alpha Company were on a mission in which they could only travel at night and sleep in the day. The nights were completely dark, and all of the men began to be affected. Rat Kiley was affected the most; he started thinking bugs were crawling all over him and he would claw at his own skin. He also admitted that he would often imagine what other people's internal organs looked like. He even began to picture his own body, blown up. Finally, he knows he needs to leave, so he shoots himself in the foot. Everyone understands.

Chapter 21 Analysis

Bravery is touched upon here. While many would say that Rat acted out of cowardice, it was indeed an act of bravery, in that he saved himself instead of worrying about what the others would think. The other soldiers acknowledge this with their warm good-byes...

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This section contains 158 words
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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.