The Thing They Carried is one of the interesting books which is authored by popular Tim O'Brien, it's all about the love and experience of American soldiers participating in a war in Vietnam, with Jimmy Cross and other lieutenant stories being shared in the whole process; the many characters in the story are partly autobiographical with most of them sharing some unique features in their characters. The Things They Carried was at first published in the year 1990 by Houghton Muffin.
The Things They Carried where a narrator with no name is able to give a description of the Jimmy Cross actions and thoughts. Technically, Jimmy Cross was one of the army lieutenants who participated in the active Vietnam War; he is possessed by thoughts of a young lady known as Martha whom he was actually dating before he decided to join the army. The lady preoccupies his mind and most of the time he just thinks of, if still, the lady is a virgin, he is possessed by the letters that were written by the lady and he is persuaded by the feeling on how much he loves her; even though the ladys letters doesnt give much indication on whether she experiencing the same feeling, (Colella 8). Generally, the love that existed between Jimmy and Martha is that Jimmy loves Martha so much but Martha doesnt give the same love back. Due to the serious love for Martha, Jimmy is seen to think much about her and even experience the conflict of interest when it comes to pursuing his major mission, during the death of Lavender, jimmy is able to blame himself for the death of lavender because by then he was thinking of Martha. In the long run, he finds it very difficult and forces himself by pushing the feelings away from himself, he promises to focus on his job and become a better lieutenant who is mission oriented and not driven by the love feelings(OBrien 20).
According to the story, The Things They carried, Jimmy love for lavender at one point lead to lavenders death, since his major priority was focused on lavender more than other men, as a commanding officer he was supposed to prioritize leading the mission rather than focusing most of his time on loving Martha, from the soldiers reaction, its possible that the distraction that was caused by too much focus on Martha caused Lavender to die, this is basically proved by the quote, He had loved Martha more than his men, and as a consequence Lavender was now dead, and this was something he would have to carry like a stone in his stomach for the rest of the war (Colella 42). Cross and other men reacted in a blame game reaction feeling that at one point Jimmy at one point is somehow unreasonable on the other hand the owe Jimmy a responsibility of offering reassurance by showing him love and telling him that just loving Martha is not possibly the main reason that caused lavenders death. Lieutenant Cross humped his love for Martha, (Bloom 11)
Through the story OBrien is able to provide a broader character expansion moving deeper to the soldiers personalities and a detailed description of what men were physically carrying, this included some of the basic and essential requirement of a soldier to carry in case they are going to a war; they included weapons, standard gear, explosives, tear gas, grenade, boots and army newsletter. Not forgetting the soldier's experience back then and in the war period, emotionally the soldiers were able to carry there; love, grief, terror and longing with dignity and poise during the process of handling their mission. Actually, in the story, the characters have been identified with different unique stories, through history and distinctive place within the group of men. Additionally, the narrator is able to provide a further description on the various list, the soldiers were carrying with them, this included the intangible and the tangible materials such as the Lt. Cross picture that indicated the feelings for Martha(OBrien 13). On the other hand, others like Henry Dobbins carried with them some extra food, Kiowa is identifying to carry a hunting hatchet and Ted Lavender is identified with tranquilizer pills. In the rest of the story, OBrien is able to offer most details when it comes to thoughts and feelings of other soldiers carrying photographs and hump, with Cross having one of the action Shot, showing Martha when she is playing volleyball (OBrien 16). Cross the Lt. is seen to be full of their memories and experience and in most cases full of regrets to why he was unable to fulfill the intimacy between him and Martha.
The Things They Carried is a good story that is full of moral lessons since it is able to provide a great description that is helpful to soldiers on a mission and their lives collectively and individually; individuals should stay unity embracing and helping others to handle their emotional challenges for them to play an effective role when it comes to teamwork. In war, soldiers are supposed to manage their emotional stress in order to perform effectively.
Bloom, Harold. The Things They Carried. Infobase Publishing, 2009. Print.
Colella, Jill. CliffsNotes on OBriens The Things They Carried. Wiley, 2000. Print.
OBrien, Tim. The Things They Carried: A Work of Fiction. Houghton Mifflin, 1990. Print.
OBrien, Tim. The Things They Carried. HarperCollins Publishers, 2015. Print.
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