Things They Carried Essay: Strength in The Things They Carried

Things They Carried Essay: Strength in The Things They Carried

Length: 973 words (2.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Strength in The Things They Carried     


Everybody has to deal with adversity at some point in their lives. The adversity that they go through varies from person to person. For First Lieutenant Jimmy Cross, he had to make it through the Vietnam War alive. In the short story, "The Things They Carried," where Cross draws his strength from is somewhat unclear. He seems strong at the beginning of the story, but then again, he also seems to be gaining strength towards the end of the story. This paper shows two different points of view. It discusses whether Jimmy Cross is a stronger person at the beginning of the story or at the end of the story.

One opinion is that First Lieutenant Jimmy Cross is stronger before he burns the pictures of Martha. His strength comes from his connections to the outside world. Martha is his link to life away from the war. This is why it is important that "Martha never mentioned the war, except to say, Jimmy, take care of yourself. She wasn't involved" (O'Brien 403-404). She symbolizes all that he left behind, and all that he hopes to someday return to: innocence, comfort, love, and hope. These hopes and dreams are the things that keep him sane; they keep him more human and less of a war machine. He shows his strength by attaching himself to these things and by keeping himself partly detached from the violence surrounding him. He has the amazing ability to admit to himself that, "he was just a kid at war, in love. He was twenty-two years old. He couldn't help it" (397). By having the strength to see this reality, he fights against war's power to consume a person's whole identity.

However, by deciding that, "henceforth, when he thought about Martha, it would be only to think that she belonged...


... middle of paper ...


...do, to a man who now realizes his job, and will make damn sure to get it done right.

Both of the points of view are valid arguments. Both are well thought out and have good evidence to back them up. So which one is the right one? Well, that's the great thing about short stories like "The Things They Carried," they are open to interpretation. The reader is the one to decide what it means to them. The point of this paper was to present two different arguments from two different readers. These points of view were both able to answer the question, was Jimmy Cross stronger at the beginning of the story or at the end of the story, in their own way.

Work Cited

O'Brien, Tim. "The Things They Carried." Literature and Its Writers: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. 2nd ed. Ed. Ann Charters and Samuel Charters. Boston: Bedford, 2001. Pg. 392-405.

 

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried

- Tim O'Brien's "The Things They Carried"      How does death affect the behavior of people. Although death affects everyone's behavior differently, knowledge of one's imminent death is a main force behind behavioral changes. This knowledge causes emotions that motivate people to act in ways that they normally would not. In Tim O'Brien's 'The Things They Carried,'; the knowledge of death and its closeness causes the men in the story to alter their behavior by changing they way they display power, modifying emotions to relieve guilt, and by exhibiting different actions to ease anxiety....   [tags: Tim O'Brien The Things They Carried]

Strong Essays
1129 words (3.2 pages)

Essay about The Things They Carried

- Like an executive summary, many novels use the first chapter to introduce the major themes and contents of the work. An example of this technique is Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried. In it, O'Brien uses the first chapter, "The Things They Carried," to introduce the characters and the tangible and intangible items they took with them and sometimes burdened over. He uses these possessions to thoroughly define the man carrying it. To these men, even in a war, it is not the machine guns and claymore mines that they prize to maintain their survival but items like pictures and pantyhose that help them remain sane and alive....   [tags: Literary Analysis, O'brien]

Strong Essays
1306 words (3.7 pages)

Coping Mechanisms in Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried Essay

- During the Vietnam war, soldiers were not exposed to the traditional coping mechanisms of our American society, as illustrated in Tim Obrien's The Things They Carried. These men were forced to discover and invent new ways to deal with the pressures of war, using only their resources while in the Vietnamese jungle. It was not possible for any soldier to carry many items or burdens with them, but if something was a necessity, a way was found to carry it, and coping mechanisms were a necessity to survive the war....   [tags: The Things They Carried Essays]

Strong Essays
1515 words (4.3 pages)

The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien Essay

- The Things They Carried Tim O’Brien This work of art is a war story, with love, tragedy and personal responsibility, giving details of what one carries, survives and ponders during events that take place out of our control. The Thing Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien depicts human beings just like us that don’t get a choice of what happens around us but how to survive with the things we hold dear that help us make it through. It also shares with us the fear, risk and aftermath of the death of one of their men and the personal responsibility the narrator feels as the loss of one of the men under his care....   [tags: Literary Analysis]

Strong Essays
1503 words (4.3 pages)

Analysis Of The Movie ' The Things They Carried ' Essays

- B@d B!tche$ in The Things They Carried In the Vietnam jungle’s tall, gnarled trees and shadowy depths lurks a danger invisible to the naked eye. It is not the perilous creatures that traverse its grounds, nor even the soldiers with machine guns that pose the threat. In fact, the danger emanates from the absence of something—the absence of the female perspective. Tim O’Brien’s decides to expose the lost female perspective in his novel The Things They Carried. By focusing on the male point of view and devoting little on that of the female perspective, he fully demonstrates America’s gender stereotyping in war....   [tags: Gender, Gender role, Vietnam War, Woman]

Strong Essays
2283 words (6.5 pages)

The Things They Carried by Tim O'brien Essay

- Tim O’Brien wrote the novel The Things They Carried in 1990, twenty years after the war in Vietnam.In the novel,Obrien takes us through the life of many soliders by telling stories that do not go in chronical order. In doing so we get to see the physical and mental things the soldiers carry throughout the war in Vietnam.Yet the novel is more than just a description of a particular war. In the things they carried Tim O’Brien develops the characters in the book slowly, to show the gradual effect war has on a person....   [tags: vietnam war, soldiers]

Strong Essays
1168 words (3.3 pages)

The Things They Carried by Tim O'brien Essay

- The War at Home The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien, transports the reader into the minds of veterans of the Vietnam conflict. The Vietnam War dramatically changed Tim O’Brien and his comrades, making their return home a turbulent and difficult transition. The study, titled, The War at Home: Effects of Vietnam-Era Military Service on Post-War Household Stability, uses the draft lottery as a “natural experiment” on the general male population. The purpose of the NBER (National Bureau of Economic Research) study is to determine the psychological effects of the Vietnam War on its veterans....   [tags: vietnam war, alienation, veterans]

Strong Essays
1433 words (4.1 pages)

Essay on The Things They Carried By Tim O ' Brien

- A man once said, “Truth must come before reconciliation,” and in Tim O’Brien’s fictional novel The Things They Carried, that quote definitely holds weight as many men in the war had to deal with the true fear that they experienced during their time in Vietnam. Many characters throughout this novel are thoroughly connected to that quote, but none more strongly connected that medic Rat Kiley. In the novel, Rat goes through two pivotal transitions on his way to reconciliation as he gives strength as a medic to those in need in one half of the novel and allows himself to realize reconciliation in the other....   [tags: Vietnam War, Guerrilla warfare, Novel, Army]

Strong Essays
1377 words (3.9 pages)

Essay about Analysis of Tim O'Brien's "The Things They Carried"

- In Tim O'Brien's "The Things They Carried", Lieutenant Cross has no choice but to put down his dreams to carry his new reality. The story introduces the reader to a young man who fills his head with dreams and hope of a better life, with the girl that he loves. Guilt begins to drive the hopeful Lieutenant becoming a better leader. Shifting his personality to harsh and cold allows him to have a firmer grip on the remaining men he leads. Destroying the only things that help him escape his harsh reality, grant Cross the ability to better control his focus on his duties at hand....   [tags: War, Lieutenant, Guilt]

Strong Essays
603 words (1.7 pages)

Essay on Brutalities of African Society in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

- Brutalities of African Society Exposed in Things Fall Apart      David Carroll writes, of the novel Things Fall Apart, "This incident is not only a comment on Okonkwo's heartlessness. It criticizes implicitly the laws he is too literally implementing..." (Carroll) The incident that David Carroll refers to is the death of Ikemefuna. Ikemefuna was a young boy who was handed over to the village of Umuofia as compensation for the murder of one of that village's citizens. He is handed over to Okonkwo, a great man in the village, to whom he gives every affection....   [tags: Things Fall Apart essays]

Strong Essays
1012 words (2.9 pages)