The Things They Carried
There are a few things that I gathered from the story “The Things They Carried”. The boys were all young and inexperienced and it was clear they were drafted bodies for numerical gain. They carried both physical and emotional baggage, and it’s never clear which weighs more heavily on them. It seemed that to some of the boys, their emotional baggage weighed harsher on them than the physical baggage that they had to carry. Each boy carries his own share of struggle and some of the boys aren’t lucky enough to make it out alive. This was the first harsh realization that I sensed while reading the story. The boys all carried heavy artillery and pieces of memorabilia from home.
The second thing that I learned from the story is that these soldiers created ideas in their head of what life is or would be like back home so that they could hold on to the hope of some normalcy. The greatest example of this is the ideal idea Jimmy Cross has of his love back home, Martha. He stresses over and over to himself about how perfect she is, and mentions repeatedly that she’s a virgin and that he is head over heels in love with her. As the story goes on, you begin to realize that Jimmy is more in love with the idea of Martha, than Martha herself. He is in love with the criteria that she presents. It’s clear that he is embellishing some of her qualities just so that he has something to look forward to. Jimmy is using his “love” for Martha as gravitational stability to keep himself hopeful of the future. To me, it seemed like he was afraid that once he lost his “normalcy” back home (Martha) he’d lose himself and he was so afraid of that happening. He didn’t want to become a monster of war, he wanted to believe that this was just a phase in his life and that he had a whole ideal life ahead of him once he was out of the military. He emphasizes that Martha is a virgin because he wants to believe that he has...
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