Symbolism In The Things They Carried By Tim O Brien

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The Things They Carried “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien is a short story set during the Vietnam War. In the story, O’Brien lists many different items soldiers in the Alpha Company carried with them as they humped across the rugged terrain. Many carried necessities such as rations, matches, ammunition and things of that nature; however, many soldiers also carried quite peculiar objects such as condoms, pantyhose, and M&Ms. Readers can grasp a closer insight of the characters’ lives after further examination of the symbolism and meaning of the things they carried. Three characters in this story that carried interesting belongings are Kiowa, Ted Lavender, and Jimmy Cross. Kiowa is a Native American soldier who carries an illustrated New Testament Bible given to him by his father. The New Testament Bible…show more content…
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. The things men carried inside.” (par. 6) In conclusion, the characters in “The Things They Carried” can be better understood through a closer look at the objects they brought with them. “They carried all they could bear, and then some, . . . “ (par 2). Kiowa, Ted Lavender, and Jimmy Cross are three very different people who were brought together to fight for a common purpose. They not only carried their own belongings, but each other too. This story shows how war can affect people and tells of the burdens that weigh soldiers down for a
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