Essay on Wartime Changes: the Transformation of Jimmy Cross

754 WordsOct 25, 20114 Pages
War Time Changes: The Transformation of Jimmy Cross Many authors tend to use character transformations to further an idea in a story. Tim O’Brien’s story “The Things They Carried” has an open ending, which he uses to signal a new beginning with the transformation of Jimmy Cross. The transformation greatly ties in with one of the major themes of the story, that war changes people. Tim O'Brien provides his audience with a very descriptive image of both the physical and mental "things" the characters in the story carried. He gives the reader insight as to how the characters are physically and mentally dealing with the turmoil of the war. However, in the end of the story - Jimmy Cross - a round character, reacts to the death of Ted…show more content…
Jimmy's transformation begins when he decides to burn the pictures and letters of his girlfriend, Martha. To be a leader in war was meaningless to Jimmy Cross compared to the love he had for Martha. Cross' subsequent burning of Martha's letters suggests that he's determined to put such romantic ideas behind him. He repeatedly convinces himself that there will be no more fantasies about Martha. The burning of Martha’s things is symbolically used by O’Brien to signify a turning point in Cross’ development. Cross realizes that Martha's feelings for him were not those of love, for she is an English major, a girl who lives in the world of words. Cross was rationalizing his un-requiting love for Martha to create a “home world” inside his mind so that he could mentally escape from the war when he needed to. Aside from abandoning the letters and pictures, Jimmy Cross also abandons his innocence. He wants to concentrate on the responsibilities of leading his men, for "he was now determined to perform his duties firmly and without negligence." The new lieutenant Cross would dispose of the good luck pebble, issue "new SOP's, and would confiscate the remainder of Lavender's dope. Overall, Lieutenant Jimmy Cross would accept the blame for what had happened to Ted

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