Roles Of Women During The Vietnam War

1291 Words Nov 20th, 2014 6 Pages
The roles of women and men in the Vietnam War varied greatly due the stereotypical characterizations of society. While women were not included in the draft, protected from its brutality and tragedies, men were forced from their homes, enlisted in the army. In O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, women are portrayed as apathetic towards Vietnam soldiers. They are the homebound sex, too fragile and moral to be aware of the world outside their own, and unable to empathize with the emotional baggage that the soldiers carry. Through The Things They Carried, O’Brien characterizes women as ignorant and thus, insensitive towards the men’s pain in war.
Women often write letters to the soldiers, but they are inconsiderate of the hardships that the soldiers endure at war. For Lieutenant Cross, Martha writes long letters back and forth with him, but rare do they ever speak of Cross’s life in battle. Merely, the only time war was mentioned was to say, “Jimmy, take care of yourself” (2). Martha writes pages of letters regarding her life at home, but does not put in the effort to ask about Jimmy, who risks his life every day. Simply, she tells Jimmy to “take care,” which is a colloquial phrase without any personal sentiment behind it, one not adequate enough to say that she is truly interested or cares about Cross. As a college student in the states, Martha is wrapped up in her own life, uninformed about the worldwide events, such as the Vietnam War. Because of this lack of knowledge, she…
Open Document