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The Things They Essay

893 words - 4 pages

Mark Koon
Professor Paquette
English 102 / F / 8:00 AM
Friday, October 15, 2015

The Things They Carried

In the short story, “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien a Lieutenant by the name of Jimmy Cross and his squad carry a list of many things, some of these things heavy physical loads and some heavy emotional loads composed of grief, terror, love, and guilt. The things each soldier carries depends on the soldier himself including his priorities and his constitutions and also his rank or his specialty for example Lieutenant Jimmy Cross carries maps, compasses, and the heavy burden of the responsibility of his men’s lives. A nervous soldier named Ted Lavender carries marijuana ...view middle of the document...

Cross' participation in the war and with his imagined fantasies that give him refuge from the war. In the wake of Lavenders death Lt. Cross burns the letters from Martha and accepts full blame for Lavender's death and while he destroys all of the physical memories of Martha, Lt. Cross continues to carry the memory of her with him still and to that is also added the heavy burden of grief and guilt. With the heavy burden of guilt and grief that some of the soldiers carry, some of them also carry the burden of missing a loved one.
Lt. Jimmy Cross throughout the whole story is obsessed with a girl back home named Martha. Throughout the story Jimmy has his mind off of the war and on Martha, looking at pictures and letters she has sent him and reminiscing about time spent together. With his body at war and his mind back home it is clear that Jimmy Cross is carrying more than just physical things. “Lieutenant Cross gazed at the tunnel. But he was not there” (274). Cross was thinking about Martha like always and was not fearing the consequences of a wandering mind during war and in turn one of his own men is killed due to his lack of attention. With the death of Ted Lavender, Lt. Cross adds more baggage and weight to his already heavy load. The weight of guilt and grief that he feels for being responsible for Lavender’s death is one of the heaviest things he carries. After the death, Cross and his men all carry the emotional baggage of men who might die.
“Grief, terror, love, longing...

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