The Things They Carried: Which Character I Have Actually Chosen

The Things They Carried

The character I have actually chosen is Lt. Jimmy Cross from the story “The important things They Carried.” Jimmy Cross is the leader of Alpha Company in the war of Vietnam, although he seems like he is not part of it. “He had trouble keeping his attention on the war […] however then he would escape into day dreams, simply pretending, walking barefoot along the Jersey Coast” (p. 279). This quote clearly reveals that he was living in a parallel world between the war that he was living at that minute and his consumed love for Martha.

Throughout the war Jimmy Cross had 2 fixations with his love back house Martha. The very first fixation that Jimmy shows is that he believes all the time that “she was a virgin, he [and that he] was almost sure.” (p. 274). Another quote that can be used as an example is how he explains her from a picture that she sent him as a souvenir “Her legs, he believed, were probably the legs of a virgin, dry and without hair, the left knee cocked and carrying her entire weight” (p. 76). Despite the fact that he was not sure of her virginity, he liked thinking that she was one. The 2nd fascination that he shows throughout the short story is that he believes almost all the time about her “He remembered kissing her great night at the dormitory door. […] He needs to have carried her up the stairs to her space and connected her to the bed and touched that left knee all night long.” (p. 276)

Jimmy Cross is wrecked with guilt since he believes that his preoccupations for his love for Martha blinded his judgment causing the death of Ted Lavender, member of Alpha Company. “He imagined Martha’s smooth young face, thinking he loved her more than anything, more than his men, and now Ted Lavender was dead because he loved her a lot and could not stop thinking about her” (p. 278). This quote describes not just that he blames himself of Ted’s death, but likewise describes that he was a weak leader for what took place.

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