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The Things They Carried Essay

During the Vietnam War Jimmy Cross was tasked as the lieutenant in the Vietnam War in Tim Obrien’s The Things They Carried. He took responsibility full of challenges past warfare. The war was a very psychological war for the positioned soldiers in the army. The strange environment that included shady places, waiting corners, diseases and death other than the problems they carried from home. Every soldier there held on to something that kept them bound to their previous life. Jimmy Cross carried his love for Martha. Jimmy’s love for Martha was in hesitantly controlling over his entire life. Jimmy imagined himself loving her and her loving him the same way back: “More than anything, he wanted Martha to love him as he loved her, but the letters were mostly chatty…”(495), blinded by the truth held in the letters that Martha didn’t feel the same way he continued to feel passion.

Jimmy Cross feelings for Martha is said to be the cause of Ted lavender death. Surviving the war wasn’t as an accomplishment as everyone thought. Jimmy Cross figured it out the hard way. Norman Bowker was a man who represents the damage that a war leaves in a soldier after the war . Norman Bowker’s sorrow and confusion are so powerful that they prompt him to drive without direction around his hometown in “Speaking of Courage”.Bowker also wrote a seventeen-page letter to Tim O’Brien explaining how he never felt right after the war in and to hang himself at the end of the chapter. “War is often… a mass release of accumulated internal rage where the inner fears of mankind of fulfill in mass destruction” was the best summary that was given about war by psychoanalyst Joost Meerloo. War is a mental land mine. The psychological damage of war is so severe that it leaves the threat of hurting someone or yourself. This is known as PTSD (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder).

Soldiers’ re-experience their time at war through nightmares or/and flashbacks. People with PTSD have difficulty sleeping and are hyper vigilance. Every war brings its certain amount deaths and sorrow. Surprisingly most death is caused by the victim themselves. It is said that more American soldier take their own life compared to the soldiers killed in fighting. Suicide rates increase on and off the combat zone. Veterans like Matthis Chiroux regret his choice to go to war. He dedicated to showing young students the side of being a soldier of the army that they don’t talk about. He runs “We are not your soldiers” lectures which send the message “Don’t become one of us”.

Matthis hopes to stop more people from repeating his mistakes and becoming part of the “grim statistic”. They say that going to war is scary because of the things you can loose, one limb or maybe two. But second to death, PTSD is the worst scar to bear. To always be haunted of the memories of the thing you had to do or were done in order for you to survive. The horrifying and animalistic behavior you witness. From town massacres to killing innocent children, it will haunt them. Tim O’Brien book “The Things They Carried” basically explains the horrifying experience he went through and how he found the ability to cope with it and stay sane. But not everyone is that lucky to find a balance in their head to keep them from insanity or suicidal actions. The way I see it Tim O’Brien himself was giving us a lesson.

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