The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien

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In the book The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien there were many characters that could be considered a “lead character” but by far First Lieutenant Jimmy Cross was the character who demonstrated an enormous amount of leadership, courage, and determination. Throughout the story it is difficult to see where First Lieutenant Jimmy Cross gathers his strength from. In the beginning of the short story, he seems very strong but towards the end of the story he also seems to still be gathering strength from somewhere. Due to Cross having immense feelings and connections to the world outside of the war, he is unable to focus on his men and his surroundings. So much so that he has a man killed on his watch, to which he feels undeniable grief and responsibility towards. Martha was his link to helping him stay out of the war, mentally and emotionally. All of his emotions and thoughts lay with her, lay with all she symbolized of leaving behind and all he wanted to return home to. That is why throughout the story “Martha never mentioned the war, except to say, Jimmy take care of yourself.” was so important and valid. That statement all throughout the book showed she was not involved in the war, in his hardships across seas, just in seeing his was safe in what he was doing. She helped and hindered his day to day duties.

Fear is also something that is seen on almost every page of this story, constantly haunting the mind of all the men depicted. The way First Lieutenant Jimmy Cross handles his fear is by deciding not to resort to any other thoughts than Martha, that is until Ted Lavender dies, boom-down, and he can think of nothing but burning his photos and letters of Martha and focusing on leading his men, not caring or getting attached, being tough but knowing what the result would be. The courage he displays throughout these passages shows how Cross had to have self-confidence, mental and physical strength, and determination to be able to phantom leading his men the way...
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