Things They Carried Essay: Strength in The Things They Carried

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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
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By making this decision, he shows weakness. As a result of giving up the thing that helps him deal with pain, he becomes harsher and more controlling. Essentially, he loses his admirable qualities. He becomes more and more a product of war. The kindness and sensitivity that once made him so honorable suddenly disappears. He makes life harder for his men. "Their days would seem longer and their loads heavier" (404). He becomes a leader who resembles the harshness of war. By being harder on his men, he isn't helping the situation. They need someone who is strong enough to pull them through the devastation and confusion they are being forced to deal with. They need the strength that he used to have. This point of view shows Cross being stronger at the beginning because he is recognizing that he has something besides the war to live for. After he loses that, he loses the strength that he possessed with it.

Another way that one could view this story is that Cross has a stronger character toward the end of the story. He showed this by burning the pictures of Martha, starting a new life by devoting himself to his job, becoming a better leader, and by getting rid of other distractions. Jimmy Cross started out being a quiet, easy going leader. He would be in the midst of the war, yet he would be thinking of Martha back home. He was always distracted thinking of her and looking at pictures of her. This shows weakness in him, especially

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