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The Things They Carried

The Things They Carried


by Tim O'Brien

Bobby Jorgenson

Character Analysis

Jorgenson is one of those surprise characters—we start out hating him, and then wham! All of a sudden we both like and respect him. Well, then.

He replaces Rat as the team's medic, so automatically we (and the men) are wary of him. Then, he bungles O'Brien's wound so badly that he nearly dies of shock and gets gangrene of the butt.

But when we meet Jorgenson again a few months later, he's totally different. He owns up to his mistake, admits that it still gives him nightmares, and apologizes to O'Brien, but he doesn't debase himself. He doesn't make himself pathetic. And this makes O'Brien—and us—unable to hate the guy. When he and O'Brien are close at the end of "The Ghost Soldier," it feels right, unlike the unholy partnership of O'Brien and Azar.