Lieutenant Jimmy Cross Analysis

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Lieutenant Jimmy Cross' platoon of soldiers are a group of very young men, most of whom are unprepared for the Vietnam War. They carry heavy rations and supplies, and pictures of their girlfriends, and fear and sadness and confusion. They often pretend that they do not feel as much as they do, because they don't want to look silly to the other soldiers. Jimmy Cross loves a girl named Martha who he knows will never love him back, and he continues to love her long after the war ends. The men do sometimes reveal their emotions, in heartfelt or comical ways. Tim O'Brien, the narrator, writes stories about his friends in his platoon. Mitchell Sanders mails lice he removes from his body to his draft board in Ohio. But there are many terrible memories…show more content…
They become hardened and angry, because no one back home understands what they are going through. After his best friend dies, Rat Kiley, a medic, writes a letter to the friend's sister, telling her what a wonderful man her brother was. The sister never writes back, and Rat's grief turns to hard anger. Tim explains that this is a true war story, because there is no moral, only ugliness and cruelty. One particularly strange story Tim heard from Rat Kiley: a soldier brought his girlfriend to Vietnam. She arrived fresh-faced and very young, but she quickly became absorbed into life in the jungle. Gradually she lost all of her attachment to her old life. She disappeared into the jungle. The soldiers understand this story, because they believe there is magic in Vietnam. Superstitions are real, and the truth is relative. There are moments and feelings that Tim cannot forget. One of them is of the man he killed: a young Vietnamese soldier who was walking down a trail when Tim threw a grenade at him. Tim will never forget the man's exploded face. Nor will he lose the image of a young girl dancing outside of her destroyed village, as American soldiers carry her dead family

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