Staying alive through the war wasn’t the only struggle that the soldiers of the Vietnam War faced. In the novel, The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien, the damages are illustrated to see the psychological strain. For some soldiers, trying to forget the unforgettable for some soldiers was more traumatizing than the war itself: Killing people, watching them die; these are all the things that the soldiers have to live with, but some just can’t live with it. The mental and physical trauma that was brought upon by the Vietnam War, still affects United States, and the stressed topic of the things the soldiers were carrying. From ponchos to the pictures of their girlfriends, everyone had different things that they carried. Everyone had their own fetish which had sentimental values and they held close to their hearts, something to give them hope or remind them of home. Lieutenant Jimmy Cross carried a picture of Martha, a woman he loved very much, and letters from her. Kiowa always had the New Testament his father had sent him. Henry Dobbins wore his girlfriend’s pantyhose everywhere he went. Ted Lavender carried 6 or 7 ounces of premium dope. Norman Bowker carried a diary and a thumb that Mitchell Sanders had given him. Rat Kiley had comics and Mitchell Sanders carried condoms. The soldiers did not only carry physical objects; they also carried, love and loss, fear and shame, terror, and grief for the lost ones. The things they carried during the war weren’t the same things they carried after the war. Every little action you make can change your life forever in war, and Lieutenant Jimmy Cross learnt that the hard way. The death of Ted Lavender was a wakeup call for Lieutenant Jimmy Cross which changed him from an immature man in love with Martha, to a mature man who became responsible for his soldiers. While in a tunnel under his watch, Ted Lavender was shot in his head. Dead. All because he was fantasizing about
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