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Word Count: 654
Tim OBriens The Things They Carried is a tale that deals not only with the physical risk of war but also with the emotional effects it has on the young soldiers Lt Jimmy Cross is the designated leader He has been placed in a position of authority and great responsibility All of the men in the troop carried various items with them both physically and emotionally However it was Lt Jimmy Cross who has the largest load to bear After the death of one of his soldiers Cross is forced to reexamine his actions and realize the mistakes he has made Although this man cares for his men he does not fulfill his responsibilities Throughout the story it becomes apparent to the reader that Lt Jimmy Cross will not be able to forget about Martha and that he is not an effective military leader The things that Lt Cross carries are different than the rest of the men He carries memories and mementos of Martha and these things infatuate him Lieutenant Cross carries two photographs of Martha OBrien 420 These two simple pictures control his mind The author reveals that Cross often wondered who had taken the picture because he knew she had boyfriends because he loved her so much and because he could see the shadow of the picture taker spreading out against the brick wall 420 The pictures and small gifts from Martha are all that Jimmy can think about distracting him from the responsibility of protecting his men It took the tragic death of Lavender to make him realize that he had not fulfilled his duties Lavender was dead You couldnt burn the blame 430 Instead he burns the photos of Martha He turns her letters and her congenial gestures into a pile of smoky ashes He was hoping to find peace and forgiveness form his guilt but none would come Even after this bold action that makes the reader believe that
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