The Things They Carried Critical Analysis

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Tim O’Brien the author of "The Things They Carried," gives the idea that the mental burdens in war are more overpowering than the physical pain that soldiers in war have to deal with. "They carried all the emotional baggage of men who might die. Grief, terror, love, longing--these were intangibles, but the intangibles had their own mass and specific gravity, they had tangible weight" (258). The author argues that sadness, fear, longing and uncertainty of the future are just some of the emotional feelings that the soldiers have to experience in war and that these feelings outweigh the physical pain the soldier actually have to endure in order to stay alive. These burdens that the soldiers have to carry with them are a little better if the soldiers…show more content…
Lieutenant Cross is the best example of how responsibility is another emotional burden that the soldiers have to deal with. Cross is responsible for all the soldiers as stated above. Cross’s thoughts of Martha cause an unfortunate problem which is the death of Lavender and Cross must suffer and carry guilt with him because he allowed one of his men to die because he was thinking of Martha at the time. This makes Cross realize that he cares more about this faraway girl than he does his own men which is another example of the guilt that Cross has to carry with him. Since Cross let Lavender die on his watch and he felt responsible for his death Cross burns all the pictures and letters that Martha sent him. This is his attempt to “burn the blame” but soon Cross realizes that is impossible and that he will always carry that emotional burden of guilt. (259). Cross needs to forget about Martha and make sure he puts his men before some girl. Cross has to carry the weight of all the men in his group just like Christ did. He is responsible for the soldiers’ lives and the outcomes that will happen with them. This responsibility is one of the heaviest of burdens that Cross must
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