Analysis of a Character from "The Things They Carried"
Jessica Holmes
Composition III/Literature -ENG 1300 S01
South University Online

Analysis of Character of "The Things They Carried"
In Tim O'Brien's "The Things They Carried," the one of the characters in the story is the protagonist and dynamic character, First Lieutenant Jimmy Cross. First Lieutenant Jimmy Cross was a 24 year old soldier in the Vietnam War. First Lieutenant Jimmy Cross carries a numerous amount of objects along with the men in his command. Cross was in love with a girl, Martha, the antagonist and flat character, whom he was unsure if she loved him or not. Cross was sometimes oblivious to the war and his men because he was distracted by his love for Martha and he daydreamed about it constantly. When one of his men die, Cross realizes he cannot continue being distracted or it would cost his men their lives. In an article, "The Undying Uncertainty of the Narrator in Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried," by Steven Kaplan, he offers many alternatives that suggest some of Cross's ineffective leadership skills could have been his limited knowledge of what was going on around him in the war, not just his distraction and oblivion to the war. Although Cross was initially distracted by his love for Martha, in the end he realized he needed to step up and be a leader in order to keep his men alive and safe.
First Lieutenant Jimmy Cross was a 24 year old soldier in the Vietnam War. At first Cross appeared to still relate to a kid in war instead of a man. His naivete, at first, was more obvious, because he thought of himself as to young to be in the war, than his being a soldier. He carried the responsibility of his men but did not seem to lead his men in their missions. "They searched villages without knowing what to look for, not caring, kicking over jars of rice, frisking children and old men, blowing tunnels, sometimes setting fires and sometimes not, then forming up and moving to the next village, then other villages, where it would always be the same." (O'Brien, 1990, p.184). As most men his age, he allowed his thoughts of a girl, Martha, keep him distracted. He kept his head in the clouds dreaming of Martha and his love for her. His distraction seemed to bring disaster down on his team and gave him a cruel wake up call. After his wake up call he realized he needed to step up and lead his men the way the deserved to be lead.

First Lieutenant Jimmy Cross carries a numerous amount of objects along with the men in his command. First Lieutenant Cross carried some items similar to his men and others that were only his to carry. Cross carried several letters from Martha that he kept in the bottom of his rucksack. Cross also carried two photographs of Martha in his wallet. In his mouth he carried a pebble that Martha had sent to him saying that the pebble represented her true feelings for him. Cross being the commander to his unit carried a compass, maps, code books, binoculars, .45-caliber pistol, strobe light, and the responsibility for his men's lives. Some of the items he and his men carried were largely determined by necessity, such as P-38 can openers, pocket knives, heat tabs, wristwatches, dog tags, mosquito repellent, chewing gum, candy, cigarettes, salt tablets, packets of Kool-Aid, lighters, matches, sewing kits, Military Payment Certificates, C rations, and two or three canteens of water. (O'Brien, 1990, p.184). He and his men also carried steel helmets, standard fatigue jackets and trousers, steel-centered nylon-covered flak jacket, 1 large compress bandage, and green plastic poncho. All including Cross, helped carry the equipment needed to carry out missions and keep themselves and others safe and alive. He and his men tried to help pick up the slack by carrying items in turn and often carrying each other. They carried ghosts and superstitions along with their other items. Lieutenant Cross and his men carried a numerous amount of objects in order to keep themselves and others safe and alive.
Cross was in love with a