The Things They Carried, Love, Narrative Stylings Essay

1159 WordsDec 7, 20105 Pages
When reading the story “Love” in the novel The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien, one can get a sense of emotional connection to the characters that cannot be obtained in the first chapter. This is done by changing the narrative from a third person in the previous chapter to first person for this particular story. While this limits the readers perspective to only that of the “O'Brien persona,” it also establishes a crucial emotional connection to not only the narrator but also to Lt. Cross. As this is only the second chapter in the collection, the reader has not yet experienced a personal connection to the narrator, giving this particular entry it's own unique feel. The reader is also for the first time emotionally connected to Lt. Cross on a personal level. We are shown the closeness and high level of trust between O'Brien and Lt. Cross as they discuss the many friends and companions lost in the war. When they come across a picture of Ted Lavender, Lt. Cross confesses that he has never forgiven himself for Lavender’s death. O’Brien comforts him by saying that he feels the same way about other things. They exchange feelings of regret, sorrow and forgiveness not addressed in the first chapter allowing the reader to relate more closely than before. When they decide to switch from drinking coffee to gin they steer the conversation away from the more harsh memories and laugh about more whimsical recollections, such as the way Henry Dobbins used to carry his girlfriend’s pantyhose around his neck as a good-luck charm. Finally, by the end of the night, O’Brien thinks it’s safe to ask about Martha. The high level of trust in this relationship is more accurately illustrated in the discussions of the complicated aspects of Lt. Cross' relationship (or lack there of) with his love interest Martha. O’Brien’s explanation of how things turned out for Lt. Cross and Martha,

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