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The book “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien reflects on the relationship between Lieutenant Jimmy Cross, who is in Vietnam and a lady referred to as Martha from New Jersey. This reflective treatise explores the setting and situation in the book “The Things They Carried” about the main characters. Also, the paper identifies the elements of the setting that help predict the outcome of the story.
The setting and situation of the story
The story begins with Lieutenant Jimmy Cross, who happens to be in Vietnam working for the Alpha Company as a war solder. Jimmy has an undying love for a lady called Martha, who doesn’t reciprocate his feelings (O’Brien, 2009). He clings to her pictures and even signed for the war to earn extra credits to win Martha’s love. From the beginning, it is apparent that Jimmy has emotional imbalances and not rational in decision making.
The Character of Jimmy is painted as an example of the consequences of being unable to handle the responsibilities due to immaturity and warped mental judgment. Jimmy has to make a series of sacrifices such as going to war, leaving Martha behind, and living with the truth of a love that is not meant to be. From the above introduction, sacrifice is suggested in the setting and situation of the story.
The plot is set with main character Jimmy having to make several sacrifices. Thus, this is expected to build until the climax when Jimmy has to decide on how to deal with the war situation, the love situation, and the personal drive to match the standards set by his mates. Jimmy is expected to either defeat his fears or be a victim of his fears as the story develops (Colella, 2011).
The setting and the main characters
The setting of this story creates different pictures of the personal traits of the characters. To begin with, the character of Jimmy is the setting is that of a victim of a person with more responsibilities than he can handle. Jimmy is introduced as a confused person who is at a crossroad in balancing undying love for a ‘strange’ girl and his duties as a soldier in the Vietnam War (O’Brien, 2009).
On the other hand, Tim O’Brien, who doubles up as the main protagonist, is introduced as a fast learner and a narrator who matures up in the course of the war. O’Brien is a sober solder and has a clear memory of the horrors of the war in Vietnam. However, he is secretive since he only concentrates in a narrative about the experiences of his mates and reveals very little about himself (O’Brien, 2009).
Mitchell Sanders is a loyal, principled, and cunning soldier. For instance, he backs down on O’Brien’s revenge quest to fix Medic Bobby based on ideological differences. Besides, Mitchell displays loyalty to Bobby (O’Brien, 2009).
Events that predict the outcome
In the beginning, Jimmy is painted as an indecisive person who has to deal with the pressure of war in Vietnam and nonreciprocating love from Martha. From this event, it is expected that Jimmy will eventually make a sacrifice of letting go of Martha and sacrificing his life for the platoon to minimize the guilt he is feeling for not being committed to the war (Colella, 2011). This is what happens as Jimmy finally burn Martha’s letters to get over her.
Also, Jimmy sacrifices himself for the sake of his fellow soldiers to free them from the dungeon of guilt and grief.
Colella, J. (2011). Cliffsnotes on O’Brien’s the things they carried. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
O’Brien, T. (2009). The things they carried. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.