The Objectification of Women in the Things They Carried

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The Objectification of Women in the Things They Carried The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien is set in the Vietnam war, a historically male centered environment. O'Brien's narrative reflects this, as most of his main characters are men. Any direct dialogue from the war scene is relayed through men, and although he varies perspectives throughout the different stories, all of the various narratives are told from the male perspective. However, women are far from absent in the The Things They Carried, rather they are portrayed idealistically. While there is little written about women, what is written is very significant to both the story, and the understanding of the mindset the American soldiers of Vietnam were in. These women work as motivations for the soldiers, as well as a reminder of life without the atrocities of war. The women in the things they carried are not seen by the soldiers as complex humans, but as symbols of the American life they miss. The first women to effect the lives of the men in Alpha company is “Martha”. Martha first appears in the first chapter of the book, also titled “the Things They Carried”. In this chapter, the narrator explains that Jimmy cross carries various symbols of his affection for Martha, both the letters she wrote him, and the good-luck pebble she sent. The letters were “chatty, and elusive on the subject of love (O'Brien 1). This shows that she is emotionally distant. Since Martha never mentions the war in her letters, it becomes easy for him to imagine her as a symbol of love outside of the war. Although Martha does not return his affection, he continues to love her because he can not stop loving all that she represents to him. Martha returns in the next chapter, as Cross explains his interactions with Martha after the war. As he tries to hold her hand and proclaim his love for her, she is tragically indifferent, and it

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