Lt. Cross can not keep his mind off of the girl that he loves back home, even while on duty. “He would imagine romantic camping trips into the White Mountains in New Hampshire. He would sometimes taste the envelope flaps, knowing her tongue had been there. More than anything, he wanted Martha to
In the "Things They Carried" by Tim O'Brien, Tim O'Brien, Norman Bowker, and the young boy whose name was never revealed are all examples of soldiers who couldn't or at least had a hard time talking about their expiriences in war. In the NPR interview with Tim O'Brien one caller who happened to be a Vietnam soldier said he “couldn’t tell anybody what [he] had witnessed”. Many of the soliders who served in Vietnam had a hard time talking about their experiences of the war. The soldiers felt as if nobody cared about how they felt because they were supposed to be strong-minded individuals. If they had someone to talk to often times bringing up memories of the horrifying scenes of the war made their situation worse.
Jimmy Cross carried letters and some photograph of a girl named Martha, he loved Martha so much. He kept the letters safe by putting them in his rucksack, and when he rewrite her letters he would imagine them together, “imagine romantic camping trips into the White Mountains” (O’Brien 3). He would imagine being with Martha and daydream and he would sometimes daydream about her and how he wants to tie her up in bed and touch her leg all day and how he wants to be the one who gets to make her no longer a virgin. Moreover when Ted Lavender got shot in the head, Cross felt responsible for his death because he was the lieutenant and all he has been doing is daydreaming about a girl that doesn’t love him back. After the death of Ted Lavender, Cross started to change his colors by letting go if Martha and focusing more on the war.
More often than not, soldiers and people in a war zone will be affected by the war one way or another. Either that being during or after the war, one could have a negative or positive outlook on the war, but one single event could automatically change that person's behavior. During 1957-1973, the longest war in the United States history took place, the Vietnam War. Many soldiers have lost their lives in this battle, but the ones that survived have significantly changed from this event.
Readers, especially those reading historical fiction, always crave to find believable stories and realistic characters. Tim O’Brien gives them this in “The Things They Carried.” Like war, people and their stories are often complex. This novel is a collection stories that include these complex characters and their in depth stories, both of which are essential when telling stories of the Vietnam War. Using techniques common to postmodern writers, literary techniques, and a collection of emotional truths, O’Brien helps readers understand a wide perspective from the war, which ultimately makes the fictional stories he tells more believable.
Author Tim O’Brien, in his novel The Things They Carried, indicates the mental, emotional, and physical changes they go through due to the Vietnam War. The novel shows the obligation and burden the soldier’s go through to perform their duties, despite their own personal beliefs and experiences. O’Brien’s purpose is to illustrate the moral dilemma and internal struggle soldier’s experience in order to survive the true nature of war, as well as the fear and obligation that they have to cope with throughout their time spent at war. War forced the soldier’s morality to be stripped from their beliefs in order to perform their duties, causing soldiers moral dilemma.
Literary analysis America’s war heroes all have the same stories to tell but different tales. Prescribed with the same coloring page to fill in, and use their methods and colors to bring the image to life. This is the writing style and tactic used by Tim O’Brien in his novel, “The Things They Carried”. Steven Kaplan’s short story criticism, The Undying Certainty of the Narrator in Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, provides the audience with an understanding of O’Brien’s techniques used to share “true war” stories of the Vietnam War. Kaplan explains the multitude of stories shared in each of the individual characters, narration and concepts derived from their personal experiences while serving active combat duty during the Vietnam War,
The things they carried is a novel by Tim O’Brien. About the Vietnam war. About the lives of people going there. It’s a collection of war stories. Some of them true, some of the untrue and that’s the main topic that’ll be discussed in this paper.
In November of 1955, the United States entered arguably one of the most horrific and violent wars in history. The Vietnam War is documented as having claimed about 58,000 American lives and more than 3 million Vietnamese lives. Soldiers and innocent civilians alike were brutally slain and tortured. The atrocities of such a war are near incomprehensible to those who didn’t experience it firsthand. For this reason, Tim O’Brien, Vietnam War veteran, tries to bring to light the true horrors of war in his fiction novel The Things They Carried.
Tim O’Brien states, “Lavender was now dead, and this was something he would have to carry like a stone in his stomach for the rest of the war” (O’Brien 16). In this quote, Tim O’Brien explains that since Jimmy Cross blames himself about Ted Lavender’s death, he will always be in lieutenant’s head. Thus, the lieutenant will always feel the guilt. With this, Tim O’Brien makes the reader think that Jimmy Cross is the person to blame since he is the head of the group and he has to pay more attention to his plans. Having questions about his love, Martha, in his mind instead of being careful about his men is the reason of him feeling guilty that “the lieutenant’s in some deep hurt” (17).
Death deeply affects how he leads his men and also his love life after the war. By being ashamed of this moment, he never ends up with Martha and is not mentioned to have a wife after the war. After this event he makes the rules of the squadron more strict to try to avoid unnecessary out-of-combat casualties. Jimmy also burns the pictures he has of Martha to try to lessen the shame he feels for letting his friends death occur but he knows that, “You can’t burn the blame” (22). If he could take away the blame of his death, he would not learn the importance of humility and accepting the ugly truth of the situation.
During the war, Lieutenant Cross and his troop had mission to destroy the village in Vietnam. Lee Strunk was assigned to explore a tunnel, while the rest of the troops had the responsibility of securing the area. After a couple of minutes of waiting, Lieutenant Cross suddenly thought about Martha. “Kneeling, watching the hole, he tried to concentrate on Lee Strunk and the war, all the dangers, but his love was too much for him, he felt paralyzed, he wanted to sleep inside her lungs and breathe her blood and be smothered. He wanted her to be a virgin and not a virgin, all at once.
Hidden somewhere within the blurred lines of fiction and reality, lies a great war story trapped in the mind of a veteran. On a day to day basis, most are not willing to murder someone, but in the Vietnam War, America’s youth population was forced to after being pulled in by the draft. Author Tim O’Brien expertly blends the lines between fiction, reality, and their effects on psychological viewpoints in the series of short stories embedded within his novel, The Things They Carried. He forces the reader to rethink the purpose of storytelling and breaks down not only what it means to be human, but how mortality and experience influence the way we see our world. In general, he attempts to question why we choose to tell the stories in the way
Along with his military gear, O’Brien states, “Lieutenant Jimmy Cross humped his love for Martha up the hills and through the swamps” (p. 115). Cross loves Martha, and “More than anything, he wanted Martha to love him as he loved her” (p. 114), but is unsure of whether she loves him back. Despite his uncertainty,
Psychological Warfare in The Things They Carried Unless you have been in war or have read The Things They Carried, you can't fully understand the psychological toll on a person's mind and body, you can't understand the psychological hardship soldiers go through in war. However, The Things They Carried, by Tim O'Brien, is written to where it shows the overall psychological effects of war on soldiers in and out of Vietnam; as shown throughout the story, the recurring themes of trauma, love, and guilt give the clear psychological implications of war.