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Weather in The Things They Carried

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Tim Marcus

on 16 September 2013

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Transcript of Weather in The Things They Carried

Weather in The Things They Carried

When talking about the man O'brien killed, O'brien mentions the fog 6 times In less than 2 pages

This experience of killing a man with a grenade is certainly a traumatic one, “In a way, it seemed, he was part of the morning fog, or my own imagination, but there was also the reality of what was happening in my stomach. I had already pulled the pin on a grenade.” Page 91-92

“Even now I haven't finished sorting it out. Sometimes I forgive myself, other times I don't. In the ordinary hours of life I try not to dwell on it, but now and then, when I'm reading a newspaper or just sitting alone in a room, I'll look up and see the young man coming out of the morning fog. I'll watch him walk toward me, his shoulders slightly stooped, his head cocked to the side, and he'll pass within a few yards of me and suddenly smile at some secret thought and then continue up the trail to where it bends back into the fog.” Page 92

Fog represents confusion, moral/ethical dilemma

“Fog, for instance. It almost always signals some sort of confusion. Dickens uses a miasma, a literal and figurative fog, for the Court of Chancery, the English version of American probate court where estates are sorted out and wills contested, in Bleak House (1853). Henry Green uses a heavy fog to gridlock London and strand his wealthy young travelers in a hotel in Party Going (1939). In each case, the fog is mental and ethical as well as physical. In almost any case I can think of, authors use fog to suggest that people can’t see clearly, that matters under consideration are murky.” HTRLLAP
There was no great mystery, he decided. Page 25

He comes to a disheartening realization about the lack of any great mystery between himseld and Martha “Everything seemed part of everything else, the fog and Martha and the deepening rain.He was a soldier, after all. Half smiling, Lieutenant Jimmy Cross took out his maps. He shook his head hard, as if to clear it, then bent forward and began planning the day's march. In ten minutes, or maybe twenty, he would rouse the men and they would pack up and head west, where the maps showed the country to be green and inviting. They would do what they had always done. The rain might add some weight, but otherwise it would be one more day layered upon all the other days. He was realistic about it. There was that new hardness in his stomach. He loved her but he hated her.No more fantasies, he told himself.” Page 25

“Rather than washing away some taint, the rain cleanses her of illusions and the false ideal” HTRLLAP

This is the other kind of cleansing that can occur, a kind of realization. Cross realizes that his fake love affair with Martha is simply that and that he and her would never be. He burns her letters and even says he hates her. Notice how the rain deepened as he decided that there was no great mystery between them. As the rain deepens, so does his harsh realization of the truth between him and Martha. Similar to Hagar in Song of Solomon who comes to a similar realization in the heavy rain as she realizes all her pursuits were in vain and reality sets in.
"So if you want a character to be cleansed, symbolically, let
him walk through the rain to get somewhere. He can be quite transformed when he gets there. He may also have a cold, but that’s another matter. He can be less angry, less confused, more repentant,
whatever you want. The stain that was upon him – figuratively – can be removed. On the other hand, if he falls down, he’ll be covered in mud and therefore more stained than before". (Foster)

page 17

“The air was thick and wet. A warm dense fog had settled over the paddies and there was a stillness that precedes rain”

Jimmy Cross sat and watched the night, probably thinking about Martha

page 108

the night is described as “cold and steamy” with a “low fog sliding down from the mountains”

Mark Fossie looking for his girlfriend. He doesn't really understand what is going on with her
-”Fog for instance. It almost signals some sort of confusion.” “Authors use fog to suggest that people can't see clearly, that matters under consideration are murky”
"This is mountains. You don't know spooky till you been there. Jungle, sort of, except it's way up in the clouds and there's always this fog-like rain, except its not raining- everything's all wet and swirly and tangled up and you can't see jack. Seriously spooky. You just goo with the various- the fog sortof takes you in"- Page 69
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