Roleof Women in the Things They Carried

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The Rose of the World

Why do we blame Helen’s beauty for the Trojan War or Eve’s curious nature for Adam’s choice to eat the apple, thus beginning the mortal human civilization? Throughout history men have found it convenient to hold women responsible for their own weaknesses and intolerance. The apathy of anti-feminist and conservative movements showcases the reality of the Stockholm syndrome and medieval serfdom. Men have been the captors and the masters of the women for time in antiquity, but we still see empathy in women. Henry Kissinger could not have summarized it any better when he said, “Nobody will ever win the Battle of the Sexes. There is too much fraternizing with the enemy.” Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried is neither
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One word is too often profaned
For me to profane it;
One feeling too falsely disdained
For thee to disdain it;
I can give not what men call love;
But wilt thou accept not.

The love stories of Jimmy Cross, Mark Fossie, and Henry Dobbins end in either rejection or despair. These stories are more about cathartic redemption and courage rather than failure and pain. Jimmy Cross is transformed into a dutiful and responsible leader after detaching himself from Martha. The author assumes an introspective tone as he discloses Lieutenant Cross’ transformation in the following excerpt:
There was the new hardness in his stomach. He loved her but he hated her…No more fantasies, he told himself. He would accept the blame for what had happened to Ted Lavender. He would be a man about it. He would look them in the eyes, keeping his chin level, and he would issue the new SOPs in a calm, impersonal tone of voice, a lieutenant’s voice, leaving no room for argument and discussion” (O’Brien 24-25).
Henry Dobbins unlike Fossie, is able to keep himself together after his girlfriend leaves him, and now those stockings around his neck symbolize his resolve to withstand the pain of desertion and turn it into the strength to fight and stay alive in the war. Dobbin’s commendable light-heartedness after reading his girlfriend’s break-up letter is evident when he

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