The Things They Carried Quote Analysis

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The loss of innocence is demonstrated time and time again throughout the course of The Things They Carried. This concept weighs heavily upon the author, as he re-visits it in nearly every single passage in the novel. It is a theme that goes hand in hand with not only war-time combat experience, but from any military service. Particularly during times of war, however, it becomes increasingly prevalent, as innocence is not only lost but often replaced entirely by the burden of realities faced during combat. Whether it is through witnessing warfare, suffering directly from it, or even having one’s life cut short by it, the loss of innocence is one of the biggest overall impacts felt by every soldier. The most clear-cut demonstration of…show more content…
At first he tries to maintain his innocence. He does this by spending every spare moment wandering mentally along beaches with a girl back home, Martha. He read all of her letters, wondered about her frequently, and even kept a stone from the beach in his mouth to savor the taste of the ocean and imagine he was with her. However, as established by the following quote, "On the morning after Ted Lavender died, First Lieutenant Jimmy Cross crouched at the bottom of his foxhole and burned Martha’s letters,” this desperate sliver of innocence was lost when he forced himself to forget her, thus allowing himself to be entirely immersed in the reality of war. The loss of life caused by the war greatly corresponds to the underlying theme of the destruction of innocence. On both sides, countless lives were cut short and wasted. They were denied their innocence by death. Several examples of this in The Things They Carried include Lavender, Kiowa, and the young communist man that O’Brien kills with a grenade. "He was not a fighter. His health was poor, his body small and frail. He liked books. He wanted someday to be a teacher of Mathematic." As O’Brien analyzes the VC in his mind, the true potential loss of innocence on both sides is
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