Jimmy Cross In The Things They Carried

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“The things they carried were largely determined by necessity” (O’Brien 102). The weight of war is a theme strongly represented in Tim O’Brien’s story, The Things They Carried. Lieutenant Jimmy Cross starts off with no desire to be in a leadership position, because of his immaturity, his love for Martha, and inability to handle the responsibilities of lieutenant many of his men die. “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” (O’Brien 107). The soldiers carried many burdens, they carried: diseases, good luck charms, pencils, intangibles, memories, fear, responsibility, and on top of all this they carried …show more content…

As a platoon leader Jimmy Cross carried a compass, maps, code books, binoculars, and a .45- caliber pistol. Medic, Rat Kiley carried a satchel filled with medicine, plasma, surgical tape. PFCs carried a standard M-16 gas- operated assault rifle. They all carried fragmentation grenades and at least one M-18 colored smoke grenade. “They carried all they could bear, and then some...” (O’Brien 104). Some missions were far more complicated and the soldiers were required to carry extra special equipment. To blow up tunnels, they carried one pound high explosives blocks. “To carry something was to hump it, as when Lieutenant Cross humped his love for Martha up the hills and through the swamps” (O’Brien 102). Lieutenant Cross also carried letters, pictures, and the pebble he received from …show more content…

“They carried shameful memories” (O’Brien 109). In their heads were flashbacks of all the men they killed, the friends they lost, and the families they split up, everything they had ever seen while battling was forever implanted in their thoughts. To escape their memories of the war many soldiers committed suicide. Lieutenant Cross on the other hand carried a good memory, about Martha of course. Jimmy was a day dreamer, he fantasized about Martha, and she was all he could think about, she was an interference. “… a bit distracted, he would get up and move among his men, checking the perimeter, then at full dark he would return to his hole and watch the night and wonder if Martha was a virgin” (O’Brien 102). When Lavender died Jimmy changed for the better, he burned Martha’s letters and photographs, but he knew he couldn’t burn the blame of Lavender’s death. Death changes how humans present their power by altering their behavior. Jimmy became more mature, more responsible, and took the lives of his men into his own hands. “No more fantasies he told himself” (O’Brien

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