"Boom-Down, and You Were Dead, Never Partly Dead.": an Examination of Responsibility in Tim O'Brien's the Things They Carried

660 Words May 8th, 2011 3 Pages
"Boom-down, and you were dead, never partly dead.": An Examination of Responsibility in Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried The Things They Carried, a collection of short stories written by Tim O'Brien and published in 1990, is a story which takes place during the Vietnam war. The Vietnam war was a battle originally between North and South Vietnam. The United States army was brought in on behalf of South Vietnam. The costs of the Vietnam war were extremely high with approximately three million Vietnamese killed, fifty-eight thousand Americans killed and three-hundred thousand wounded. The main character in the first short story is Lieutenant Jimmy Cross, an American soldier. During war, or any situation, even the unrelated, the …show more content…
Lavender's death could have been prevented if he had not been wasting time fantasizing about Martha. Post to the death of Ted Lavender, Cross develops a sudden hatred for Martha, for himself. The blame is put completely on her. If she had not been so irresistable, he would not have been thinking about her and therefore would have been looking out for his soldiers. In an attempt to burn the blame, Cross burns all of Martha's letters and the two photographs he had been carrying with him during the war; but Lavender was dead. With a failed attempt, the blame could not be burned. "[Cross] realized it was only a gesture. Stupid, he thought. Sentimental, too, but mostly just stupid. "(O'Brien 23) He realizes being more concerned about Martha than the war was an irresponsible thing to do and
Cross takes action in realizing this. The death of Lieutenant Cross' friend and fellow soldier is emotional burden of which he will have to carry for the remainder of the war, and also the remainder of his life. Though it will be hard for Cross to completely shut out his feelings for Martha, he responsibly puts forward a strong attempt in order to prevent this from happening again. It is too late to save the life of Ted Lavender, yet just in time to save

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