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The Things They Carried and Araby Essay

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The idea of love is very complex and can be interpreted in a variety of ways. Both “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien and “Araby” by James Joyce portray the lives of two individuals who are in love. “The Things They Carried” is about a young lieutenant named Jimmy Cross during the Vietnam War. Lieutenant Cross was incapable of focusing on the war because of his constant thoughts of the girl he loved, Martha. “Araby” is about a boy who is infatuated with a girl he has never had a conversation with. Although both protagonists in “The Things They Carried” and “Araby” eventually realize that the girls they loved didn’t feel the same way about them, Lieutenant Cross tried to move on by destroying everything he had that reminded him of Martha, while the boy in “Araby” was left disappointed. To begin with, both Lieutenant Cross and the boy in “Araby” showed a level of immaturity by acting the way they did towards the girls they loved. In “The Things They Carried” Cross touched Martha’s left knee while they were at a movie. He constantly thought about that moment and was completely obsessed. His obsession is evident in they story when it states “Right then, he thought, he should’ve done something brave. He should’ve carried her up the stairs to her room and tied her to the bed and touched that left knee all night long” (O’Brien 936). Misinterpreting such a simple gesture and turning it into a sexual fantasy shows immaturity. In “Araby” the boy also made more of a situation than it actually was in reality. When he finally talked to the girl he was obsessed with, he took the conversation the wrong way. She expressed to him that she was not able to attend the bazaar because she had to go to a retreat. He responded “If I go, I ...


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...misconstrued by his infatuation for the girl and he is left disappointed and dissatisfied. In conclusion, both stories display the idea of love and how it can be interpreted. In “The Things They Carried” Lieutenant Cross fantasizes about a girl named Martha, who he loves but she doesn’t feel the same way about him. He finds it hard to focus on his duties in the war because he is constantly thinking about her. When he realizes she doesn’t love him the way he loves her, he destroys everything he has of hers. In “Araby” a young boy is infatuated with a girl who he has never spoken to. He is unsure if he would ever speak to her, and when he finally does he is so excited that he misinterprets the conversation. When his plan for getting her to love him back doesn’t go as planned, he doesn’t attempt to move on like Lieutenant Cross, but he is left disappointed.



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