The Things They Carried in the Things They Carried
In “The Things They Carried,” by Tim O’Brien the theme of “carrying” both physical and emotional objects by the main characters can be found in the novel. While these men carry the same standard physical army gear, they differentiate with personal tangible and intangible items. From Lieutenant Cross’s responsibility of his men, to Henry Dobbin’s girlfriend’s pantyhose for its magic, each man faced the war with these things attached.
Jimmy Cross being the immature lieutenant is affected being responsible of his men, and carries much of the war’s burden. Every time one of Cross’s men dies, he experiences deep regrettable feelings that he should have been a better leader to have prevented his death. The death of Ted Lavender is carried heavily by Cross, because he was distracted by the thoughts of his love, Martha. Yet again, Cross feels he should have been a better leader. Jimmy Cross also carries the picture of Martha, and the “lucky” pebble from the woman who does not return the love or talk of the war in their exchange of letters. Martha’s picture can represent Cross’s escape to his life before the war, and his hopeful thoughts for after the war. These emotions of guilt and loss are still carried by Jimmy Cross after the war.
Henry Dobbins was one of the bigger fellows of group so he carried extra rations to meet his stomach’s needs. In return for being the big guy of the bunch he was required to carry the huge M-60 machine gun along with 10 to 15 pounds of ammunition. The most bizarre thing that Henry Dobbins carried was his girlfriend’s pantyhose around his neck for its comforting magic. Even after his breakup with his girlfriend, he continued to wear the pantyhose. They provided him protection in his mind, and the others had a hard time disagreeing with the better fortune it brought him.
Dave Jenson practiced field hygiene, so he carried a toothbrush, dental floss, and hotel sized