Tim O Brien Love Stories Analysis

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Love is a “profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person” (Dictionary.com) that can be seen with not only the human eye, but felt through actions and emotions of others. Tim O’Brien compiles his experiences as well as intentional fictional stories into a commemoration novel depicting life in the war of Vietnam while discovering love in himself and his fellow soldiers in their journey together. Tim O’Brien uses a series of short stories compiled from his experiences to detail the love found in even the most seemingly loveless conditions. He conveys his feelings to cope with the losses, and celebrate the gains, even twenty years after it was over. Love is underlying in every short story he tells; for every gruesome experience exposed,…show more content…
The first instance of a love story starts between Lt. Jimmy Cross and his fantasized lover back in the United States, but it’s not what it seems. The first chapter depicts Lt. Cross’s situation in which he perceived he was infatuated with girl back home, and that feeling consumed his every thought and desire as he led his men through Vietnam, “...his love was too much for him, he felt paralyzed, he wanted to sleep inside her lungs and breathe her blood and be smothered.” (O’Brien 34). This relationship between Martha and Lt. Cross is a love story only from an external point of view. The lust he had for Martha was a side effect in coping with the war, which was all he knew at the time. The true form of love exemplified in this novel is between the soldiers. As you see at the end of the short story, The Things They Carried, Lt. Cross burns Martha’s letters, symbolizing his grief and guilt with letting a soldier die on his watch while he was distracted thinking about Martha. In burning those letters, it was like a renewed vow to the soldiers he watched over, a renewed promise to do right by them, to love them. This fabricated love between Martha and Jimmy Cross was placed purposefully to open the novel with a elemental love of the Lieutenant and his soldiers. At first glance, Martha and Lt. Cross may seem to be a love story by themselves, but further investigation of the text, it is clear to see that the purpose of the short story…show more content…
The Things They Carried is a warbook romanticized into a love story illustrating these concepts of love. There is nothing more clear to the eye than the amity created between the soldiers while serving their country, putting their lives in each other’s hands every day. As quoted “And in the end, of course, a true war story is never about war… It's about love and memory. It's about sorrow.” (O’Brien 134) Tim O’Brien’s purpose in writing this work was not to share his experiences alone, but to also make you feel what he felt, the affection and devotion he possessed for the others. The concept of love is not always the romantic love between significant others, sometimes it is exemplified through actions and behaviors of the friend right next to
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