the things they carried Essay examples

Submitted By pg34
Words: 893
Pages: 4

The Things They Carried In this story the author uses many symbols to show the personality of each character and to show how different each soldier is. The items the soldiers are carrying have a deeper meaning than just the broad meaning they usually have. They are describing the soldier’s personal life. These items also represent what the soldiers are thinking about. In a way, the items were an escape from reality. No one would’ve ever thought a simple item could tell such an interesting story, until now. Lt. Jimmy Cross carries letters from the girl he loves, Martha. Lt. Cross is somewhat obsessed with Martha; however, the feeling is not mutual. “The letters weighed ten ounces. They were signed “Love, Martha,” but Lieutenant Cross understood that Love was only a way of signing and did not mean what he sometimes pretended it meant” (O’Brien 117).
Martha is a kind girl who is nothing more than friends with Jimmy, but he wishes they could be more than that. Every day at sundown he stares off into the sunset and fantasizes many different scenarios in which he wishes could become reality between the two. The obsessiveness he has for Martha is symbolizing the loneliness he is having while he is at war, and the desperateness to be loved. The fantasizing is his way of escaping from reality and making himself happier. Henry Dobbins and Mitchell Sanders found a way to be comfortable while at war with the use of sexual items. Mitchell carries condoms with him and Henry keeps his girlfriends pantyhose tied around his neck because he says that it comforts and relaxes him. The possession of these items shows that these two men were probably horny and missed having sex since they’ve been at war. Dobbins also carried canned peaches in heavy syrup over pound cake. This represented Dobbins as someone who was most likely overweight. The soldiers have to deal with two tough situations, the fact of knowing that they killed someone or the fact of knowing that someone killed one of their own men. A lot of times they dealt with these deaths by talking about the irony behind it. Mitchell Sanders is the main one who uses this irony to help him recover from the sight of death, and he also points out that behind each death there is a moral to the story of that person’s death. For example, when Ted Lavenders dies, Mitchell says that is because of all the drugs that he had been using. Revenge is also shown strongly in this story. When Lavenders dies, Lt. Cross gets upset and wants revenge on whoever did this to his soldier. Angered and sad at the same time, Lt. Cross gathers up the rest of his soldiers and decides to burn down the village of Than Khe and destroy anything in his path. “After the chopper took Lavender away, Lieutenant Jimmy Cross led his men into the village of Than Khe. They burned everything. They shot chickens and dogs, they trashed the village well, they called in artillery and watched the wreckage. (O’Brien 124). Kiowa, a devout Christian carries an illustrated New Testament and he carries his grandfather’s ratchet with him while he was in the war. This is a metaphor showing that the soldier is still affected by the discrimination that his grandmother received from white people.