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The Things They Carried:Novel Summary: “Enemies”

Average Overall Rating: 4.5
Total Votes: 132

Summary of “Enemies”

 

Two of the men, Lee Strunk and Dave Jensen, get into a fistfight over a stolen jackknife. It is a vicious fight in which Dave Jensen breaks Strunk's nose, and he has to be helicoptered to a hospital. He comes back with a splint on his nose. Dave Jensen becomes tense and paranoid, afraid Strunk will seek revenge. He finally shoots off all his ammunition, yelling Strunk's name and then sits with his head in his arms for hours without talking. That night, Jensen takes the butt of a pistol and breaks his own nose. He shows Strunk and asks if they are even. Strunk says yes but admits he had stolen Jensen's knife.

 

Commentary on “Enemies”

 

With the men fighting among themselves they leave the whole company open to danger. The incident shows the tension and hostility that the men live in. Jensen is as afraid of Strunk's revenge as of the Viet Cong. He says he cannot fight a war on two fronts. The story shows how violence becomes a way of life.




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