The Things They Carried By Tim O Brien

655 Words3 Pages

Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried” is stories centered around the American soldiers in the Vietnam war. O’Brien explains how the harsh atmosphere of war can mentally and physically traumatize a soldier. In order to escape this atmosphere some men fantasize about the women they love. The men do not think of the women as people with their own thoughts and feelings, instead they think of them as forms of comfort or motivation for survival. Lieutenant Jimmy Cross and Mark Fossie profess to hate the women they love because the women do not fulfil the fantasies the men have created. Jimmy loves Martha, but he has a fantasy about her. He develops an obsession with Martha after their first date. During the date he touches Martha’s knee and cannot …show more content…

He looks at the way Martha “[signs] the letters Love, but it wasn’t love” (23). He implies that the love Martha signs off with is not the intimate love he imagines. Somewhere in his mind Jimmy knows that the plausibility of his fantasy becoming a reality is low because Martha does not feel the same way. Jimmy hates as well as loves Martha because he blames her for his failures. His obsession of Martha causes him to neglect his duty as a lieutenant. After the death of his platoon member, Jimmy burns the letters and photographs from Martha, symbolizing his hate for her and showing that he blames her for his failure to protect his men. Mark Fossie loves Mary Ann because she fits the fantasy of the perfect American life. Many Ann exemplifies an ideal American woman during the 1960s. She is described as a beautiful blonde with blue eyes and fair skin. Mark and Mary Ann have been lovers since the sixth grade. Mark fantasizes his entire future with Mary Ann. He imagines “they would be married, and live in a fine gingerbread house near Lake Erie, and have three healthy yellow haired children and grow old together and no doubt die in each other’s arms and be buried in the same walnut caskets” (90). Planning far into the future shows how confident Mark is in realizing his

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