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The Burdens They Carried

            In Tim O"Brien's "The Things They Carried" the soldiers carry guns, ammunition, and body armor to keep them as safe and as protected as possible. Each one carries things important to them as well as the standard issued items. They carry pictures and letters helping them remember girls they have left behind and who they want to see. Depending on the type of person such things as tranquilizers or marijuana are carried. But each soldier carries these items for fear of getting shot and killed. They have to take their mind off of the war and the fighting if just for a couple of minutes. If a soldier carries something that they think protects them then he is a lot more comfortable then he would be without it. The soldiers that O"Brien writes about carry both physical and emotional burdens, which show readers who they are.
             Lieutenant Jimmy Cross carries all of the standard issue gear and also letters from Martha (435). Martha is a girl who he daydreams about. He dreams of her and thinks about nights in which he had actually touched her knee (437). The Lieutenant also carries a responsibility to each of his men. He is responsible for the lives of each and one of the men in his platoon. This frightens him just as much as the fear of dying in the war. Nobody wants to die especially in the war and Lieutenant Cross is no different. Cross is shown as a caring person through the things that he carries. The pictures and the memories of Martha also show that he is holding on to something that may not be there. But the fact that he has the pictures comforts him and keeps him from freaking out and abandoning his troops in battle. Lieutenant Cross also is shown as a very superstitious person by carrying a good-luck pebble (441). This makes him comfortable and does not allow him to fear the war. After Lavender dies Cross finally realizes that he is endangering his troops lives as well as his by going off in daydreams about Martha.

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