Pebble: the Symbol of Emotion Essay

1189 Words Dec 13th, 2011 5 Pages
Malcolm D. Ervin
Professor Kristen Raymond
English 1101
28 September 2011
Pebble: The Symbol of Emotion
In The Things They Carried, O’Brien talks about many of the objects that he and his comrades carried while they were in Vietnam. They carried things like food, water, weapons and ammunition. They also carried comfort items like tranquilizers and M&M’s. Although the weight of these things placed a physical burden on the soldiers, it was the emotional weight that each of the soldiers carried that took the heaviest toll on them. The pebble, carried by Lieutenant Jimmy Cross, symbolizes multiple things that evolve throughout the text. It will prove to be a source of comfort, anguish, and relief to him.
Lt. Cross was madly in love
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“Martha's explanation of how she carries the pebble with her and finally sends it to Lieutenant Cross as a "token of her truest feelings" works to figure the pebble as a metonym for her. Cross actualizes this figural relationship when he "carries the pebble in his mouth" and imagines that it is her tongue.” (Chen pg. 85) Cross imagines Martha’s feet walking along the shore. He gets that image frequently. He often thinks about who she’s with at the beach. The pebble is his only connection with Martha and their separated relationship.
The pebble was very important to Lt. Cross. It symbolized the complexity of the relationship he and Martha had. “It was this separate-but-together quality, she wrote, that had inspired her to pick up the pebble and to carry it in her breast pocket for several days, where it seemed weightless, and then to send it through the mail, by air, as a token of her truest feelings for him”(O’Brien pg. 9).Martha Although Cross didn’t realize her meaning, the pebble, found separate but together, was a token of love. Although this “love” wasn’t the same mutual love that Jimmy had for Martha, the relationship between them was like the pebble, separate but together. “On the march, through the hot days of early April, he carried the pebble in his mouth, turning it with his tongue, tasting sea salt and moisture” (O’Brien pg. 9). The pebble allowed Cross to imagine himself, together with Martha, often impairing his judgment during the day. That gave

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