The Things They Carried

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 11th grade February 2008

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Internal Conflict of Lieutenant Jim Cross Tim O'Brien tells the tale of Jim Cross, a man so wrapped up in love that his interest in the war becomes a distant memory. The internal conflict in Jim's emotions enlighten us of a man who is too infatuated with a woman who knows nothing of the reality of the war, except that a man she is close to is engaged in it, became his main focus through most of the literature. Toward the end of the work, we get a sense of Jim's victory over his indulgence with Martha and he finally understands to put his priorities in order. Although the emotional attachment to Martha seemed to be the main burden carried, Jim begins to realize that the feelings are not mutual, thus making it easier to accept his duty and lead his platoon and say "Carry on" (378).

Jim's obsession with Martha is stated in several incidents throughout the work.

"More than anything, he wanted Martha to love him as he loved her, but the letters were mostly chatty, elusive on the matter of love" (387) indicates his moderate understanding of Martha's feelings toward him. He understood that although she signed her letters with "love" that it didn't mean she was in love with him, but rather that it was a sincere way of saluting the mail; however it did not matter to him. While in a foxhole, Jim would begin to daydream. He often envisioned himself and Martha on Sirico 2 romantic camping trips. He would take the letters that were given to him and taste the envelope flaps knowing Martha's lips and tongue had touched them at one point.

Further along we encounter another incident of Jim's obsession when the narrator states "In his wallet, Lieutenant Cross carried two...