The narrator depicts the lives of the soldiers encumbered by various responsibilities that they need to fulfil and the physical and emotional burden that each of the soldier is carrying with him. As the title of the book, ‘The Things They Carried’, suggests the various tangible and intangible things that the soldiers are bound to carry with them. The soldiers carry the painful memories of their loved ones which continues to haunt them throughout their tour of Vietnam. The commander of the platoon, Jim Cross, also finds himself indulged in the memories of Martha, his beloved.
Cross is responsible for the lives of his subordinate soldiers therefore when the first soldier dies Cross fails to get out of the guilt he feels over the death of Ted Lavender, the first soldier to die, because he was indulged in the memories of his beloved. Cross then decices to put his duty over his personal life and emotions. Despite his sacrifice of individuality at the altar of his duties in order to getting himself out of the conflict of individuality and his duty, he does not succede to save his men from death. The burdens of Cross are heavier than the other soldiers because his responsibilities are greater than the others (Piedmont-Marton). The burdens of the men are biblical as well as one of the soldiers say, ‘Well, that’s Nam. Garden of evil. Over here, man, every sin’s real fresh and original’(O’Brien, 76). The burden is really difficult to carry because the soldiers are young and evil is so fresh.
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