Books and Movies Reviews

Analysis: The Things They Carried

Throughout lifetime, many people all over the world have been influenced and reshaped by the forces of society in which they happen to exist. Strong forces such as war and terror cause the most changes in one's life. In Tim O'Brien's "The Things They Carried", the war in Vietnam plays a vital role in influencing the way Mary Anne and the members of the Alpha Company transform and adjust to the surrounding environment. Throughout the novel, the author shows the profound affect of the war on the soldiers as well as Mary Anne, who inhabits the forbidding world and embraces the wild, uncivilized jungle.
In thefirst scenes of the novel, O'Brien presents the reader with a detailed description of the physical burdens that the soldiers carry with them in Vietnam. It is clearly evident that along with the physical burdens, most of the members have an emotional strain as well: "Jimmy Cross humped love for Martha up the hills and through the swamps" (O'Brien 3). In addition, to the love that Jimmy Cross carries, he also carries "the responsibility for the lives of his men" (5). The lieutenant thinks that Ted Lavender's death happened as a result of his negligence because he was so obsessed with his fantasy of Martha. The emotional damage that the death of the soldier brings to Jimmy Cross is evident in the later scenes of the novel: "he tried not to cry…he felt shame", yet it was "something he would have to carry like a stone in his stomach for the rest of the war" (16). Lieutenant Cross is an example of how the war can make men irreparably cynical and depressing as he burns the letters of Martha in order to forget her and reminds himself "that his obligation [is] not to be loved but to lead" (25).
Moreover, the burdens of the war are portrayed through Ted Lavender who carries marijuana and a large supply of tranquilizers in order to relieve the st…

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