"The Things They Carried":So Much More Than Military Supplies

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58,000 American lives were lost in the muggy jungle hell of Vietnam. Mere children thrown into the rage of war, expected to be strong, to be men, to be able to deal with the death and destruction, were “humping” their way through the shrapnel and land mines for a cause even they weren’t entirely sure of. Tim O’Brien writes of such horrors in his short story “The Things They Carried”. Through the things the soldiers carried, O’Brien tells a riveting tale of horror, destruction, duty, and a shred of hope in a very frightening place. The things they carried meant more than anything else when the smell of napalm permeated the air and the threat of death was lingering over-head. With little more than the clothes that were melting off their backs and the rucksacks they hiked over their shoulders, the young men of “The Things They Carried” put their fears aside and tore into the hostile jungles of a foreign land. The things he carried meant more than anything else to Lieutenant Jimmy Cross, platoon leader and barer of company burden. Jimmy Cross, baring not only a figurative cross, but also the initials of someone else who was forced to carry a cross and a hefty burden. This comparison to Jesus Christ himself shows that Jimmy is a very important player in the war as well as in the story. Jimmy carried letters “…from a girl named Martha, a junior at Mount Sebastian College in New Jersey. They were not love letters, but Lieutenant Cross was hoping, so he carried them folded in plastic at the bottom of his rucksack” (251). ”Jimmy carried pictures. Jimmy carried the ghost of years passed and the memory of a love that never truly was. Everything Jimmy carried was a symbol of home, a symbol of the innocent life he possessed before the war, and a symbol of escape and delusion. When in the heat of combat or the heart of the hostile jungle, Jimmy “would dig his foxhole, wash his

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