In war, there is a winning side and a losing side, but both suffer casualties. Afflictions are not always dealt in death and physical pain, but also emotional damage. In Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, he emphasizes war’s capabilities to change people. When Mary Anne, a sweet, innocent, all-American girl, arrives in Vietnam to be with her soldier boyfriend, change is inevitable, and she will eventually lose her naiveté. O’Brien utilizes personification, jarring imagery, hyperbole, and pathos to convey that war shatters all innocence, no matter how hard one may try to avoid the change.
In the novel The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien introduces Jimmy Cross, who is the Lieutenant of the platoon and who is also in love with virgin Martha,a friend from back home. She sent him letters signed ‘love’ which only played with his head, causing him to think lascivious thoughts about her, “slowly, a bit distracted, he would get up and move along with his men”(2). He was never fully in the war with Martha buzzing through his mind every waking second. When the men were on a mission, Jimmy Cross was examining a tunnel “and then suddenly, without willing, he was thinking about Martha... he tried to concentrate on the war but the love was to much for him” (11).
Mary Anne was always by Mark’s side, staying inside his tent, walking around while holding hands. But over a few weeks things began to change. Mary Anne soon begins to adjust to life in a new environment, as time progressed, Mary Anne started to get curious about many things. She would ask questions about how their equipment and weapons worked.
Altruism, by dictionary.com is defined as the principle of unselfish concern for the welfare of others. This was what Lt. Jimmy Cross lived for. He did not want to be a leader of a cavalry when he was 19 years old. Although he did not want to be a leader, he accepted his duty and led the Alpha Company. He started off the war swimming in thoughts of Martha. But after he lost a member of the group, Ted Lavender, he blamed his thoughts for Martha as the cause of his death. He then started living for his war family and not for seeing Martha again. He even went on burn all her letters and threw away the pebble she had given him. He realized that at war, he could not continue to live in the fantasy in his head. He had to be where he was, and he was
She has an aborting and later finds out that she can no longer bear any children with Tom. The transformation of her personality following the aborting and her increasing mental instability shows the fragility of the human mind. Swift shows us that fragility through Mary’s guilt. The beginning of her madness starts when Dick kills Freddie, because Mary told him that Freddie impregnated her. Later when she finally realizes the harm that her manipulating can do Tom says: “Curiosity’s gone…seems three years older than me, as if she’s become a hard featured woman with a past.”
When Mary Anne comes to Vietnam Rat Kiley describes her as, “She was seventeen years old, fresh out of Cleveland Height Senior High. She had long white legs and blue eyes and a complexion like strawberry ice cream,” and that she wore, “White culottes and this sexy pink sweater” (86, 89). This makes the reader picture someone inexperienced in life and pure, and dresses like someone that is going out not to war much in life. Not much later Mary Anne came back from an ambush and is described as, “She wore a bush hat and filthy green fatigues; she carried the standard M-16 automatic assault rifle; her face was black with charcoal" (98). She went from wearing girly clothes to wearing what the men do and does not care about the mess, and it shows how quickly she changes from when she arrived, especially since she went on a dangerous mission.
Lieutenant Jimmy Cross, of the Alpha Company, carries various reminders of his love for Martha, a girl from his college in New Jersey who has given no indication of returning his love. Cross carries her letters in his backpack and her good-luck pebble in his mouth. After a long day’s march, he unwraps her letters and imagines the prospect of her returning his love someday. Martha is an English major who writes letters that quote lines of poetry and never mention the war. Though the letters are signed “Love, Martha” Cross understands that this gesture should not give him false hope.
She was forced into submission by the man she devoted her life to. “She stood up ‘sit down’ he said ‘just for a minute sit down’. It was not until then that she began to get frightened. This piece of evidence clearly shows a hostile relationship between Mary and Patrick Maloney.
”(91) The entire war area changed who she is and how she acts, especially with Mark.
Mary Anne is a symbol of war and what it can cause or change permanently. The innocent American girl was changed forever. The Man I Killed “His jaw was in his throat, his upper lip and teeth were gone, his one eye was shut, his other eye was a start-shaped hole, his eyebrows were thin and arched like a
This shows you how the couple acted towards each other when Mary Anne first came into the war. It shows you her dependence on other people before she actually got into war. #2- (metaphor) “Though she was young, Rat said, Mary Anne Bell was no timid child.” This is a backwards metaphor to show what she wasn’t like in order to explain what she was like.
In the book “The Things They Carried”, Tim O’Brien writes about his experience before and during the Vietnamese War, tells stories about his troop, and their lives before and after the war. He illustrates about how his life changed because of the war, and emphasizes on how the war is so cruel and has no moral at all. His stories involve a lot about Vietnamese War. If people read his story superficially, they will say it is definitely a war story, but he argues that his book is actually about love (81). Although his story looks like a war story, it is actually a loved story because his stories are either about his loved ones or dedicated to his loved ones.
Mary was a woman, and women were not allowed to fight in the war, so she changed herself into a man. Mary ann is now Thomas Edward “I always get looks, do you think they know?” So how did Mary do it, how did she trick the recruitment officers into thinking she was a man. In her diary herself she tells us everything, she was a twisted woman.
Later on in the story after Mary Anne has tried to be more independent Fossie begins to watch over her more attentively. “…he’d tighten up and force himself not to watch her. But then a moment later he’d be watching”(O’Brien 104). His watching is like God looking over his creation, waiting for something to occur.