The story is not about war and peace but mainly about war and love. Lt. Cross finds himself torn between the demands made by love and those by men and he thinks that his love acts as a hurdle in performing his duty towards his men. Cross’s love for Martha was the only treasure of his life. ‘It had all the shadings and complexities of mature adult love, and may be more, because there were not yet words for it, and because it was not yet fixed to comparisons or chronicles or the ways by which adults measure such things. I just loved her’(O’Brien, 228).
For Jim his beloved symolizes the world of peace and she is unsullied by war experience (Korb). He feels guilty over the death of Ted Lavender who was shot in the head while returning from bathroom at the time when Cross was engaged in the reveries of his beloved. Love and war, believed Tim O’brien, are closely intimate with each other and intimacy with life is preceded by intimacy with death. As Cross finds himself unable to carry the burden of guilt and love he decides to get rid of love and becomes a real soldier that is the only way to rid of his guilt (Korb).
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