Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried: Suffering of War and the Compassion of Love

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In the story The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien, He really shows the suffering of war and the compassion of love. The Vietnam War came up because it was under a communist government. The United States tried to prevent the spread of communism. What Jimmy Cross, Ted Lavender, and Kiowa carry is decided by their fears, homesickness, or desperate need of distraction from the war.

The First Lieutenant Jimmy Cross carries many things, but, most importantly, he carries the responsibilities of the other men. “Lieutenant Cross carries two photographs of Martha” (98). Carrying these things makes him fantasize about her all day, causing him to feel like it was his fault for Lavender Dying. “Ted Lavender was dead because he loved her so much and could not stop thinking about her” (99). Lavender realizes that he needs to step up for his army and forget about Martha completely. He burns her pictures, even in the rain, symbolizing that he is determined to erase his fantasies, and come to reality. He really takes a stand for his soldiers, to be a better man, and a better leader. “Ted Lavender carried six or seven ounces of premium dope, which for him was a necessity” (97). He is a coward, and the only way he could escape the fact from possibly dying, was doing tranquilizers. “Ted Lavender was shot in the head on his way back from peeing” (101). It is ironic how Lavender is the one who died just simply peeing, instead of having to crawl in the cave and be in actual danger. He was so doped up that when he was shot in his head, he fell flat like a rock and seemed to have a very peaceful death.

“Kiowa, a devout Baptist, carried an illustrated New Testament that had been presented to him by his father, who taught Sunday school in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma” (97). Kiowa is an Indian and is definitely a very strong believer. “Kiowa carried his grandmother’s feathered hatchet” (99). He uses the bible as a pillow at night, to feel comfort in a time of despair. He also wears...
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