Here's something for you to think and write about.
In the story, the description of the different items in the soldiers' backpacks serve to humanize and individualize the soldiers. By listing their various belongings, O Brien helps the reader identify with the characters.
Are you what you carry? Does it reveal who you are? If your house was on fire and you could only carry out 10 items of your most precious belongings, what would you take?
Let's share our ideas. I'm looking forward to reading your comments.