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Transcript of Love
"To be heroic is to be courageous enough to die for something"
O'Brien stated that what brings them to the war in the first place was nothing positive, “no dreams of glory and honor”, but just a necessity to avoid dishonor, shame or embarrassment.
War changes you and most soldiers returned home to realize the dreams they had put on hold during the war, was not what was waiting for them in the end.
In the “ Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien, the author explores the aspects of the mental and physical tribulations that the soldiers go through and experience.
“Only the dead have seen the end of war.” - Plato
The Things They Carried...
Intangibles and Tangibles
Although the author described the basic equipment they each carried: "Mosquito repellent,pocket knives", the intangible items like "love letters" and "photographs" symbolizes the problems they faced as well as the burdens that they all shared.
Lt. Jimmy Cross
CHAPTER 2 -
Love- Chapter 2
Years after the end of the war, Jimmy Cross goes to visit Tim O’Brien at his home in Massachusetts.
Jimmy tells O'Brien he still blames himself for the death of Ted Lavender as "He had loved Martha more than his men, and as a consequence Lavender was now dead, and this was something he would have to carry like a stone in his stomach for the rest of the war. "
The chapter love acts as an epilogue of the story "The Things They Carried."
Having thought about Ted's death, Tim and Jimmy changed their drinks from coffee to gin and laughed about their positive memories during the war.
Years after the war, Jimmy is reunited with Martha.
He explains to O'Brien that they had run into each other at a college reunion in 1979. She was a Lutheran missionary, a nurse. She had never married, and she said she didn't know why, -you can feel Cross painful emotions as they needed to switch up their drink and change the topic.
A Skeptical Smile
The meaning of the title “Love” in chapter 2 is puzzling because Cross is both skeptical of the word and emboldened that it carries meaning in Martha’s letters. This is evident as into the story, he reads Martha's letters in order to mentally escape from the war experience suspecting that the "Love" with which she signs her letters is simply a figure of speech.
In the story, there is a harsh awakening in chapter 2 as the author twists the chapter, bringing us forward in time, furthermore a shift in country (Vietnam to Massachusetts) and narrator (third person omniscient to first person).
Tim Portrays Cross emotions vividly as not only does he have the painful memories of loosing his friend and fellow soldier Ted Lavender, he also has to deal with the fact that Martha was not interested in him. With him accepting the fact she doesn't love him states : "It doesn't matter. he said. I still love her."
This book is mostly about reflection and sadness. This is due to the events that occurred in many of the stories and although Tim and his fellow soldiers had some decent memories, they were blocked out by the heavy burdens they had to carry after the war.
The soldiers feel a sense of isolation when they return home from war, due to their tragic experiences that occurred during the war. This was conveyed in the chapter "Love" as "Then for a long time neither of us had much to say." Furthermore, needing Gin to get them speaking.
Although the meaning of the title chapter"Love" is complicated, the author implies that Cross still seems hopeful that "Love" might mean something between him and Martha asking that when Tim writes his story, he should ; "make him out to be a good guy, okay? Brave and handsome, all that stuff." - Implying hopefully Martha will read it one day and she would change her mind about him.
The inconclusive ending of the chapter “Love” is pointing to the difficulty the soldiers experience when having to talk about their traumatic experiences. This ending is a cliff-hanger as we are not sure what O'Brien promised "[he] won't" mention, and if it has been put in the story or not.