Describe the relationship between Tim and Kiowa

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mizzwillie eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the best books about Vietnam ever, The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien is a book of fiction which feels like a true story.  Some of the characters are described through the objects they carried and Kiowa carried a New Testament sent to him by his father. Kiowa's first encounter with Tim is on Tim's first day in Vietnam when Tim refuses to shake the hand of the dead and Kiowa comforts him with words telling Tim that he is right to refuse, sort of like a big brother would.  Tim considers Kiowa a good friend and yet, when Kiowa is shot, Tim knows that the screaming is Kiowa and yet doesn't try to rescue him but lets him slip beneath the mud of the community toilet field.  He never forgets Kiowa and at the age of 43, returns to Vietnam with his daughter to see three places.   When it is possible to see only one, he chooses the most important, the place where Kiowa died.  He goes into the muddy water and puts Kiowa's moccasins into the water about where the body is discovered as his last gift to his friend Kiowa.  To him, now the hating and war is over, and the friend who helped him survive now has his moccasins in the place he lost his life.

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The Things They Carried

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