Women Roles in "The Things They Carried"

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In this book there are three major women Linda, Martha, and Mary Anne. Linda's role is positive yet very saddening because she in a way has given Tim O'Brien the power to tell stories so in depth using memories. Mary Anne's role is encouraging because she comes to Vietnam and throughout the journey she discovers herself; she redefines the typical role of women. Martha's role in this book could be considered positive because she is keeping up Jimmy Cross's morale but, at the same time it could be negative because she leads him on. So the role of women in the book is very influential in a positive way.

Mary Anne is portrayed as the best woman in the book. She is only seventeen and her high school sweetheart, Mark Fossie, arranges it so that she comes to stay with him for a while in Vietnam. When she first gets there she distracts the boys, which make them feel more at home. "The men genuinely liked her. Out on the volleyball court she wore cut-off blue jeans and a black swimsuit top, which the guys appreciated, and in the evenings she liked to dance to music from Rat's portable tape deck" (95). At first she is happy with mark, however over time she changes and it shows her becoming a woman and really maturing. "In her second week Eddie Diamond taught her how to disassemble an M-16, how the various parts worked, and from there it was a natural progression to learning how to use the weapon" (98). As the story goes on it shows that she is becoming more of a soldier. She in the end acted very differently than most women, this for women was a positive thing because it is giving her power, and a new look on life. This can be negative as well because Mark Fossie lost the girl he once loved. Her image continues to become more negative, once Mary Anne goes crazy and starts sleeping with the greenies. She becomes one of them when, she starts wearing tongue necklaces and listens to dark music. You just begin to see how she can't handle the war without going mad. Martha is...
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