The Things They Carried

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The Way They Survived

The short story I chose to write my essay on is "The Things They Carried" by Tim O'Brien. The soldiers in the story had to deal with not only accepting the deaths of those they became close with, but also dealing with the knowledge that they took another human beings' life. The author shows how they had to carry not only their equipment; but the emotions that came along with being in a war. The emotions I speak of are ones that come from knowing they were mere grunts-and as such, were replaceable. That moment where they silly cease to exist could arrive when they least expected it. This analysis is about the way Cross and his soldiers dealt with the war, not physically but emotionally.

A part of the story that really stuck out to me was Lieutenant Cross's particular brand of love for a girl back home, Martha. Cross was a good leader, but he let his emotional drama from home begun to get in the way of the way he lead his company. Obviously, Cross was in love with Martha, it is mentioned several times how he carried mementos form her and that she was in his thoughts, night and day. "Whenever he looked at the photographs, he thought of new things he should've done." (Cross 806)She was one of the emotional burdens Cross was carrying with him throughout the story. This was Cross's way to cope with some of what was going on around him in Vietnam. He wanted Martha to love him as he loved her, but the letters she wrote were mostly chatty and elusive on the matter of love. This is interesting because Martha was a woman he had met one time; they had a great time on a date, but that was it. For Cross this appeared to be his last enjoyable memory he had before he left, and he carried it across the world with him to Vietnam. "Cross understood that love was only a way of signing and did not mean what he sometimes pretended it to be" (Cross ).It is easy for me to understand how Cross could put so much of his thoughts on this girl he spent...
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