Apathy is present when the main character, Tim O’Brien tells the fate of his friends throughout the narrative. O’Brien writes, “Ted Lavender, who was scared, carried tranquilizers until he was shot in the head outside the village of Than Khe in mid-April.” (O’Brien 991). Tim O’Brien describes the loss of his colleague as though he is reading a laundry list, completely apathetic to the circumstances. Fear tortures many of Tim O’Brien’s fellow soldiers in The Things They Carried.
The bluntness of the introduction of Ted Lavender’s death shows how sudden his death was and how death was an ordinary occurrence in the Vietnam war. Ted Lavender’s death plays a significant role in the novel. He carried tranquilizers and extra ammunition as precaution and a way to calm himself; however, he was still killed. His death is ironic because the items that were meant to protect him ended up weighing him down, which made him fall quicker when he was killed. This shows how no object could prevent the soldiers from dying and how death was a worry constantly on the soldiers
Tim O’Brien states, “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” (O’Brien 16). In this quote, Tim O’Brien explains that since Jimmy Cross blames himself about Ted Lavender’s death, he will always be in lieutenant’s head. Thus, the lieutenant will always feel the guilt. With this, Tim O’Brien makes the reader think that Jimmy Cross is the person to blame since he is the head of the group and he has to pay more attention to his plans. Having questions about his love, Martha, in his mind instead of being careful about his men is the reason of him feeling guilty that “the lieutenant’s in some deep hurt” (17).
At first he tries to maintain his innocence. He does this by spending every spare moment wandering mentally along beaches with a girl back home, Martha. He read all of her letters, wondered about her frequently, and even kept a stone from the beach in his mouth to savor the taste of the ocean and imagine he was with her. However, as established by the following quote, "On the morning after Ted Lavender died, First Lieutenant Jimmy Cross crouched at the bottom of his foxhole and burned Martha’s letters,” this desperate sliver of innocence was lost when he forced himself to forget her, thus allowing himself to be entirely immersed in the reality of war. The loss of life caused by the war greatly corresponds to the underlying theme of the destruction of innocence.
During the Vietnam War the soldiers, whether or not they wanted to be there, many of them developed mental illnesses. The things they would experience would cause burdens on them for the rest of their lives. “Ted Lavender, who was scared, carried tranquilizers until he was shot in the head outside the village of Than Khe in mid-April.” (The Things They Carried) Lavender carried tranquilizers until he died, because he was scared.
War and death go together like lightning and thunder. With one comes the other. Each death impacts the soldiers who are left behind. Some of the deaths include Lavender, Kiowa, love, and distractions. Ted Lavender is killed outside of Than Khe, this is one of the first deaths, and it
The fact that some characters in the story took tranquilizers to calm down their nerves clearly depicts that, the war period was depressive to the soldiers (sparknotes.com). For example, Rat Kiley carried morphine, plasma, malaria tablets, surgical tape, and every one of the things a medic must carry. The way that Kiley carried, beneficial necessities demonstrates that he is a decent medic committed to doing his service well, yet the M&Ms spoke towards something else. Kiley's optimistic and compassionate point of view toward the war and life when all is said in done. The tranquilizers carried by Ted Lavender express towards his dread of the battling in the war and his powerlessness to face reality, rather choosing to escape from it by taking drugs.
Death deeply affects how he leads his men and also his love life after the war. By being ashamed of this moment, he never ends up with Martha and is not mentioned to have a wife after the war. After this event he makes the rules of the squadron more strict to try to avoid unnecessary out-of-combat casualties. Jimmy also burns the pictures he has of Martha to try to lessen the shame he feels for letting his friends death occur but he knows that, “You can’t burn the blame” (22). If he could take away the blame of his death, he would not learn the importance of humility and accepting the ugly truth of the situation.
Ted Lavender took extra precautions compared to the other soldiers. " Ted Lavender, who was scared, carried tranquilizers until he was shot..." (O'Brien 1). The author writes this about Ted to show the readers that he was scared and felt the need to carry tranquilizers in addition to his army equiptment. Ted also felt the need to take dope to
One of the things that is always at the forefront of Cross 's mind is his unrequited love for Martha. With his love fro Martha come along fantasies, which take his mind off of the war and what 's going on around him. He thinks that because of his love for Martha, it distracted him just long enough for something serious to happen. After Lavender 's death, he tries to recollect his mind by promising himself that he would stop thinking about Martha by burning her letters and pictures that he owns. By doing this he takes the blame for the death of one of his brothers.
Jimmy Cross is the first lieutenant who carries pictures and letters from Martha, the woman he loves who—sadly—does not love him back. The pictures and letters from Martha symbolize Jimmy’s longing to be loved and comforted. It is ironic that although he is the first lieutenant who is expected to take charge and lead others, yet he never took charge of his own love life. This is a regret and burden Cross carries to the end of the story. “It was very sad, he thought.
Martha had a big effect on Jimmy cross 's during his adventure in Vietnam. “Jimmy Cross 's had loved Martha more than his man , and as a consequence lavender was dead now and this was something he had to carry like a stone in his stomach for the rest of the war and life.” Martha was a young lady that Lieutenant Jimmy Cross was obsessed with. It was very possible the distraction of Martha caused lavender to die. Although Martha never loved cross.
During the Vietnam War, Tim has also seen some people having no morals and some people want revenge. Not all solider who fought in the Vietnam War from America is innocent. Correspondingly, not all deaths are innocent, and people die without doing wanton things: to Tim, the world is unfair. In Vietnam, Tim realizes how horrible can people get from hanging around with Azar. Azar is guilty, however, he is still a savage; he took Lavender’s adopted puppy and strapped it onto explosives.
In the 1960’s marijuana use had no outstanding effects on the United States people but in today's society the use of marijuana had become a huge epidemic over the past years. Even though it has been scientifically proven that marijuana can help seizures, Crohn’s, and effects of cancer, yet many people in today's society still believe that it has no use. In the United States 45 percent of drug arrest in 2013 were due to marijuana, but at Woodstock in 1969 when there was a controversial “Drug War” no one was arrested for marijuana (Merino par. 3). The use of marijuana is more strict in the United States now then it was in
The True Weight of War “The Things They Carried,” by Tim O’Brien, brings to light the psychological impact of what soldiers go through during times of war. We learn that the effects of traumatic events weigh heavier on the minds of men than all of the provisions and equipment they shouldered. Wartime truly tests the human body and and mind, to the point where some men return home completely destroyed. Some soldiers have been driven to the point of mentally altering reality in order to survive day to day. An indefinite number of men became numb to the deaths of their comrades, and yet secretly desired to die and bring a conclusion to their misery.