What is the effect of having Chapter 5 follow the Elroy encounter and come before the next chapter in The Things They Carried?

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teachertaylor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Chapter 5 "Enemies" is about the fight between Dave Jensen and Lee Strunk over a knife that went missing.  Jenson took the better of Strunk and broke his nose.  After the fight, Jensen uses a pistol to break his own nose and then asks Strunk if they are even to which Strunk agrees.  In the next chapter, they are sort of like friends, but Jensen does feel indebted to Strunk, and the chapter ends revealing that Jensen seemed to feel relieved after Strunk died.  In Chapter 4, O'Brien has flashed back to the time when he was drafted into the war.  He was so wound up about going to war that he thought about running away to Canada.  O'Brien ends up going fishing at the Tip Top Lodge where he meets Elroy, the man whom O'Brien says saved his life.  While out fishing, O'Brien is embarrassed by himself and his lack of dignity, so he submits to going to war.  This is similar to Jensen's feelings of having beaten Strunk in a silly fight and then submitting himself to making the tables even again.

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The Things They Carried

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