Lieutenant Cross In Tim O Brien's The Things They Carried

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Throughout the story “The Things They Carried” Lieutenant Cross’ character goes from being a boy at war, to a man that will execute orders sternly to get his men home alive. His character goes through a large change in a short period of time and he is described as having a “new hardness in his stomach (437).” In the story he uses the stone from Martha as a coping mechanism to transition himself into the man he now is. Lieutenant Cross uses the hardness of the stone to create the hardness in his gut when it is implied that he swallows the stone, and this action also signifies the burying of the feelings for Martha deep down. He first receives the stone From Martha in a letter in the first week of April: It was a simple pebble, an ounce at most.… Martha wrote she had found the pebble on the Jersey shoreline, precisely where the land touched the water at high tide, where things came together but also separated. It was the…show more content…
Martha does not love him as he loves her, and he will never be able to have her. He quite literally tastes what he cannot have when he keeps the stone in his mouth and day dreams of her. The pebble is very light, but the intangible weight attached to it is enormous and Jimmy will keep this weight with him forever. Later on in the story he will day dream of Martha and it will lead to the loss of Ted Lavender: “He was just a kid a war, in love. He was twenty-two years old. He couldn’t help it (432).” This tells you that he is still just a boy at this point, but he knows that he should not be thinking of Martha he should be worrying about the lives of his men. Even so, Lavender is now dead and Jimmy holds himself responsible: “He would dispose of his good luck pebble. Swallow it, maybe… (437).” Mainly he is trying to get rid of all feelings for Martha, he cared more for her and himself, but he does care also about his
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