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The Things They Carried

            Among the many solders in the Alpha Company, there were many things that were carried with them. They carried object such as can openers, knives, dog tags, bug repellent, water, guns and food. Most of these articles were a necessity in which they needed in order to endure the war. However, there were a few items that the soldiers carried not because they had to or because they needed it in order to survive physically but because they needed it in order to survive emotionally.
             First Lieutenant Jimmy Cross carried letters with him. They were written from Martha, a girl who was a student at a college in New Jersey. He would read these letters after a long day; sometimes tasting the seal of the envelope because he knew her tongue had been there. She wrote about school, her professors, exams, her love for Chaucer and Virginia Woolf, and she quoted poetry. The letters were more than just reading material for Jimmy. They were his escape from the war. In these letters, he wouldn't think of the day's events or his future in Vietnam, he thought of Martha and only Martha. He would think of romantic trips that they could take together and wonder if she was still a virgin. She signed her letters "Love, Martha" and although he knew she didn't really mean that she loves him, he sometimes pretended it did. He also carried pictures of Martha. Late at night, he"d stare at her picture wondering who took it, wondering if Martha had a boyfriend because he loved her so much. Reading over her letters and staring at her face in the photographs makes Jimmy regretful. He should have been daring and showed her how much he cared and maybe things would have turned out differently. However, his love for Martha slowly turns out to be a burden for Lieutenant Jimmy Cross. After Ted Lavender dies, Jimmy burned Martha's letters and the photos. He blamed himself for Lavender's death because since he was so distracted by Martha, he didn't secure the area properly when the platoon was investigating tunnels.

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