The Plot of “The Things They Carried”
The story “The Things They Carried” is about the experiences of a Lieutenant Jim Cross. At the beginning of the story, Cross carries around letters and pictures from his love, Martha. Martha is a sophomore student at St. Sebastian’s College in New Jersey, and she is majoring in English. Even though Cross has a job to do, he cannot quit thinking of her. The story goes on to describe other things each person carries with them.
Cross uses the letters as a way to connect with the outside world. Even though he always thinks about Martha, Cross still carries the responsibility for the lives of the men in his unit. It seems as though every man carries something that takes them away from Vietnam. Whether it be cocaine or photos, every man has something they carry. They also carry good luck charms and their equipment that they are required to carry. This shows how they share the burden of fighting in a war.
Jim Cross’s mission is to destroy enemy tunnels that are used to hide in. The mission takes place in mid-April. To make sure that the tunnels are being used, the unit has to send a man into the holes to make sure that there are men inside. Since they have to search the tunnels before they can destroy them, the soldiers draw numbers to see who has to go into the tunnels. Lee Strunk is the one who draws the unlucky number, and he has to perform this dangerous task. Strunk goes down into the hole while his unit waits
and hopes that he will make it out alive. While this is going on, Cross cannot focus on Strunk or the tunnel. He can only imagine a life with Martha in New Jersey. When Strunk finally gets out of the tunnel, Ted Lavender gets shot in the head while returning from using the restroom.
Later, the soldiers put Lavender’s body onto a chopper. Even though they all feel sorrow for the loss of their comrade, they cannot stop there. The unit takes up their belongings and march to a village named Than...