The Things They Carried

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“The Things They Carried” is a story about what is most important to a soldier, practical and emotional. Jimmy Cross tells how pictures, letters, bibles, and journals were just as important as guns, medical supplies, and radio contact. A soldier couldn’t do what he does without some ties to real life, beyond the war. As Jimmy Cross said, “It wasn’t cruelty, just stage presence. They were actors and the war came at them in 3-D.” The letters and pictures helped them stay grounded, a hope for a life outside of the war.

“The Things They Carried” was in Third Person Omniscient. For most of the story, Jimmy Cross is the only soldier we know the thoughts of, when he thinks things like, ‘Her legs, he thought, were almost certainly the legs of a virgin.’ And ‘It was very sad, he thought. The things men carried inside.’ Later in the story however, another character, Kiowa’s thoughts are shown. ‘He wanted to share the man’s pain, he wanted to care as Jimmy Cross cared.’ The point of view is appropriate for this story because, in the beginning when all you hear are Jimmy Cross’s thoughts, you wonder if all the soldiers feel the way he does, but then you see Kiowa’s thoughts, and you see that he feels the same way Cross does. If the point of view were changed to have just Cross’s thoughts, it would make you wonder more about the opinions of the other soldiers. You would wonder if they carried extra things for the same reason Cross carried them, or if the death of Lavender affected each of them as it had affected Cross.
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