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Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 11th grade February 2008

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In Tim O'Brien's short story, The Things They Carried, love and war are issues the author puts upon the reader. In the short story, a group of soldiers go into Vietnam to fight for the United States of America. These characters show their own unique way of handling the war. Their leader, Jimmy Cross, has his own way of remembering home and the one he loves. His love for this woman leads to a disaster which war can generate - death.

In other situations, the soldiers left behind things to make the load lighter. It might be a dangerous thing to do, but choppers would hover over and drop more supplies. America tried to make it easier for them as well. They would drop sparklers on the Fourth of July and colored eggs on Easter. Another aspect of war is losing a member in your platoon. Guilt can be put upon a person in charge.

Ted Lavender lost his life under Jimmy Cross' supervision. As other people talk to him about the death, Cross ignores the situation.

Love puts obsessive ideas and dreams into a person's head. Jimmy Cross is a prime example of that. Being the leader of a platoon, one needs to stay focused. Jimmy Cross made it hard for himself to do that. A woman named Martha made it impossible for Jimmy Cross to focus on missions. He had characteristics of an obsessive-compulsive individual. The way he would open her letters and put them back into his bag was a type of ritual he would perform. Everything Martha would write in the letters, he would keep it close to his heart. Another conflict he would have was weather Martha had the same desires and feelings toward him. He would Look at Martha's pictures and wonder who is taking the picture, wondering if it was her boyfriend or not. Another situation was when Martha sent him a pebble. He kept the pebble in his mouth pretending it was her tongue. He couldn't help being in love with Martha. He was a just young man at war.

The men of the Vietnam War went through life-changing experiences. Some men went on to live their lives normally. Others went on to have feelings of rage toward the war. As the men of war went to fight, they left the people they love. This story showed the power of love in terrible moments.