Female Characters In The Things They Carried By Tim O Brien

817 Words4 Pages

Often times women serve several important roles in a novel that help to drive and fully develop the plot. Many authors write about women and what they represent in order to keep the reader engaged. In Tim O’Brien’s novel, The Things They Carried, the various female characters in the story represent numerous topics. Since the women in the novel serve an important role, they represent psychological baggage, innocence, and the function of memory. One female character in the novel that represents psychological baggage is Martha. Martha is Lieutenant Jimmy Cross’ love interest. Martha and Jimmy Cross met in college. Nothing ever happened between them besides one date. Martha stays in contact with Jimmy by sending him letters. One day she sends …show more content…

Throughout the story, she loses her innocence. Mary Ann is Mark Fossie’s girlfriend. She comes to Vietnam to spend time with Mark. When Mary Ann first arrives in Vietnam, Rat describes her as, “A tall, big-boned blonde. At best, Rat said, she was seventeen years old, fresh out of Cleveland Heights Senior High. She had long white legs and blue eyes and a complexion like strawberry ice cream. Very friendly, too”(O’Brien 89). Mary Anne comes in by helicopter along with the daily resupply shipment out of Chu Lai. She is an outsider. At first, Mary Anne is not intending to partake in the war. She is an innocent girl coming to Vietnam to spend time with her boyfriend. As the story progresses, she transforms from a young beautiful girl into a hunter. When Mary Anne steps out of the shadows toward Rat, he states, “In part it was her eyes: utterly flat and indifferent. There was no emotion in her stare, no sense of the person behind it. But the grotesque part, he said, was her jewelry. At the girl’s throat was a necklace of human tongues”(O’Brien 105). Mary Anne decides that she wants to go on ambush with the men and become a part of the Green Berets. She now carries a gun and is going out and hunting. Having Mary Anne wear this necklace of tongues represents the adaptations and struggles that the soldiers had to go through when they arrived in Vietnam. Mary Anne Bell’s innocence represents the innocence that the soldiers lost during their time in

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