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The Things They Carried

The Things They Carried

by Tim O'Brien

Guilt and Blame Quotes

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Quote #10

There were many bodies, real bodies with real faces, but I was young then and I was afraid to look.  And now, twenty years later, I'm left with faceless responsibility and faceless grief. (Good Form.7)

Civilians might assume that ignoring the face and body of a man you've killed makes the guilt easier to bear, but O'Brien is saying the opposite.  He has to give the dead a face and a past in order to cope with his guilt.  It's why he created the young man on the trail to My Khe. 

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