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“The Things They Carried” – Analysis



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    Jimmy Cross and the center of is infatuation Martha in “The Things They Carried”, he allowed himself to become more obsessed with the thought of her. The letters simply state the events Martha encounter In her daily life, lines of poetry she would quote, not one single word was written to imply she had feelings for him (O’Brien, 354). There is never an inkling Of profound feelings for Let. Cross being hidden in Marsh’s words, but at the end of each letter she signs them with the word “love”. This is the fuel that fed the fire that was his infatuation (O’Brien, 354).

    The way she signs her letters along with the good luck pebble she sends him are enough for him to know that she is thinking about him even though he is not there. Those two things are enough to set his fantasy of having her, wild. Since the majority of Let. Cross’s time is spent idealizing a woman in his mind, it caused him to neglect the responsibilities he has to his platoon. Fatal choices are made as Cross’s mind remains in the clouds. Had he interpreted the letters for exactly what they were, instead of allowing his mind to distort words and phrases, lives may have been saved.

    The letters which are meant o be only a temporary relief from the tough reality he faces everyday, in his mind are made to be her way of declaring her love. Having love for someone is a natural part of life but allowing it to take over your life, is not. In the story “Arab}/’ the narrator is also lusting over a girl he hardly knows, causing him to act rather foolish. Manger’s sister became the center of the narrators infatuation. With religion being a very prominent factor in the lives of the characters in this story, the narrator neglects to realize that this factor will make it nearly impossible for them to be together.

    With the inability to realize this, mixed with his teenage hormones, this causes him to be engulfed by his objectification of Manger’s sister. “My body was like a harp and her words and gestures were like fingers running along the wires” (Joyce, 217). He allows her to control him so heavily; simply by the way she moves or speaks, he doesn’t allow himself to live his own life as the person he truly is. By not allowing himself to see anything else past this girl he is idealizing, he shuts himself off from the rest of the things in his life, the more important things, such as work and school.

    We know that the narrator doesn’t come from very much money, which means for him to take what little money he is given and plan to spend it on this girl, he is truly obsessed. A child in his right mind would save the money he is given, to get the things he needs or even wants for himself. His infatuation with her makes him feel as though he has to do anything he could to please her, even giving her all he had. Through an epiphany at the end he realizes that he was romanticizes his relationship with Manger’s sister far too much.

    He was willing to give up the little money e has in order to please a girl he hardly knows in order to simply entertain a fantasy. When the shop keeper speaks to him out of duty he finally realizes that he is still a child (Joyce, 217). Realizing that the Arab lets him down he knows that so too would Manger’s sister. This epiphany tells us that we can’t let vanity run our lives; we must address it and face it head on. Fantasy, objectification, and idealization can simply lead to turmoil. By allowing ourselves to become enveloped with wanting to make the “object” of the fantasy happy, we are only putting ourselves on the backbencher.

    “The Things They Carried” – Analysis. (2018, Feb 04). Retrieved from

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