Jimmy Cross’s Final Decision in O'Brien's, The Things They Carried Essay

Jimmy Cross’s Final Decision in O'Brien's, The Things They Carried Essay

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In the story, “The Things They Carried”, author Tim O’Brien described specific items that each of his soldiers carried with them to the Vietnam War front. The items that the soldiers carried were for mental protection; they believed that the things they carried would take their minds off all the terror and violence that was going on around them. The protagonist, Lieutenant Jimmy cross, carries out letters from a girl named Martha, which leads to him losing his focus for the war and a lack of protection for his fellow soldiers. The death of Ted Lavender tested Lieutenant Cross’ loyalty to his men, his imagination of Martha, and the significance relating to each of the items the soldiers’ carry.
Lieutenant Cross’ love for Martha’s was a major distraction during the war that causes him not being around when Lavender dies. After the daydreams that lasted until one of his soldier’s death, Lieutenant Cross blames himself for loving Martha rather than concentrating on the war. “He pictured Martha’s smooth young face, thinking he loved her more than anything, more than his men, and now Ted Lavender was dead because he loved her so much” (392). A time came during the march that everyone was invisible to Jimmy cross; only Martha existed in his fantasy world. Lavender’s death placed Lieutenant cross in a situation where he had to choose between his priorities or his fantasy about being with Martha. It was difficult to make that decision, but he chose his priorities by burning Martha’s picture and letters in order to protect his men and regain his focus for the war.
Throughout Lieutenant Jimmy Cross’ march in Vietnam, his imagination of Martha was a love fantasy. Martha was Lieutenant Cross’ pen pal. She writes letters a...


... middle of paper ...


...for themselves. He makes us really feel for Lieutenant Jimmy Cross because he also carries the lives of all these men in his hands.”
In the final stage of the march in Vietnam, Lieutenant Jimmy Cross was able to make the right decision after Ted Lavender’s death to concentrate on the war and protect his men. He finally came into realization that his men and the war were at that point in time more important than his fantasy for Martha. The guilt of losing Lavender because of his love for Martha was Falling action which in turn led to the conclusion of the story.


Works Cited
O’Brien, Tim. “The Things They Carried”. Literature: An Introduction to Fiction,
Poetry and Drama. Ed. X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. 9nd ed. New York: Longman, 2005. Pgs 389-392
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1117626/critical_analysis_of_tim_obriens_the.html

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