The Things They Carried By Tim O ' Brien

1067 Words Sep 27th, 2015 5 Pages
Every one of us has experienced a strong emotional fear, and in that moment of stress, we learn more about who we are. The short story “The Things They Carried”, by Tim O’Brien, follows the lives of soldiers trying to survive the emotional and physical stresses of the Vietnam War. Throughout the story, O’Brien juxtaposes the physical weight of the supplies that the soldiers must carry with the immeasurable weight of their intense emotional experiences. The theme of “The Things They Carried” is the burden of fear, which O’Brien portrays through the counter-weight of objects the soldiers cling to for consolation and escape. Some men turn to objects that remind them of love, no matter how unlikely it is that they are loved back. Other men turn to physical objects for comfort, despite how seemingly insignificant these objects are. Whatever it is, each man relies on carrying something to escape the horrific atrocities of war, and it is this thing that defines each of them. The protagonist of the story, First Lieutenant Jimmy Cross, survives the fear and hardships of war by focusing his attention on Martha, a girl he loves very much. Martha does not love him back, but Lieutenant Cross pretends that she does. Lieutenant Cross carries letters from Martha in his rucksack and pictures of her in his wallet. At night Lieutenant Cross carefully takes out the letters and the pictures of Martha and remembers his time with her and dreams of scenarios where they are together. He…
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