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NOTE Parenthetical Citation is used Selection came from an anthology thus making the page numbers irrelevant Please modify page numbers to coincide with your text Tim OBriens The Things They Carried presents the central idea that amongst society it is normal to react to atypical situations in an atypical way Jimmy Cross OBriens protagonist was developed to exemplify this atypical reaction Cross allows the reader to believe and appreciate the things they carried as well as creating an extended metaphor OBrien begins his work describing the care that Lieutenant Cross has for the letters he carries from a girl named Martha from back home OBrien writes In the late afternoon after a days march he would dig his foxhole wash his hands under a canteen unwrap the letters hold them with the tips of his fingers and spend the last hour of light pretending 960 OBrien also mentions that Cross would sometimes taste the envelope flaps knowing her tongue had been there 960 OBrien assigns the most importance to Cross by opening the story with this aspect of his personal life This insight is commonly referred to in the story to corroborate the importance and mirror the severity of what the other men are dealing with It is important to OBrien that the reader understand that all of these men who are fighting in the Vietnam War lead a life with their platoon within their role as soldiers but also the reader needs to be reminded that all of these men have lives back home whether it be with their parents wives children or girlfriends a life was left to be led without them This introduction is vital to the piece because it develops the theme and allows OBrien to use it as a foundation building upon the things men carry from one specific situation The plethora of personal possessions that these men carry acts as an extended metaphor It is
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