The Things They Carried: Emotions Are Not A Sign Of Weakness

1037 words - 4 pages

Regardless of whatever the situation may be if a man's will power is strong enough he will definitely prevail. "I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail... the poet's voice need not merely be the record of the man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.” William Faulkner’s speech in 1950 talks about the importance of emotions that man carries all throughout the difficult predicaments in life, all in which they surpass one after another, and Faulkner’s speech also talks about how a poet’s duty is to record all of the memorable moments of the life of man that are sometimes incomprehendable. Writing down all of man’s emotions they will forever be in existence therefore, encouraging future generations to follow their hearts, and never forgetting the generations before them.
Lieutenant Jimmy Cross is the platoon leader in Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried. Lieutenant Jimmy Cross’ infatuation is with a young woman that he met during his school days were still in session, Martha. Cross absolutely loves Martha although he knows that she does not feel the same way about him. Regardless, Cross keeps letters and pictures of her to comfort himself when he needs it. Instead of looking out for his men, Cross was day dreaming about Martha, meanwhile, Ted Lavender is shot, instantly killing him. Although, Cross feels lugubrious he continues to move forward with his life, living not just for himself, but for Ted Lavender too. Cross takes the initiative to burn all of the photographs and letters of Martha, to prevent a similar situation from occurring. “On the morning after Ted lavender died, First Lieutenant Jimmy Cross... burned Martha’s letters. Then he burned the two photographs.”(23) Lieutenant Jimmy Cross is leaving behind the memory of his beloved Martha, so that in the future he can be completely faithful to his men. “He hated her... love, too, but it was a hard, hating kind of love.”(24) Cross is willing to sacrifice his love for Martha for the lives of his men. The memory of the death of Ted Lavender will forever be a hindrance for Lieutenant Jimmy Cross, something that he will always have to live with, but instead of running away from reality he is embracing it, and accepting his actions.
An emotional burden that Tim O’Brien has is when he ignorantly throws a grenade and kills a young man. Because they are in a war, Azar tells O’Brien that it is perfectly normal for situations like these to happen on a daily basis. O’Brien is still vexing over the young man and he tries to cope with the situation in any way he could possibly think of. One of the ways that he does this is by imagining the young man’s life before death. He pictures the young man loving mathematics, books, and being a scholar, and dreading to contribute to the war whatsoever. “He would have been taught that to defend the land was a man’s highest duty and highest privilege....

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