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“The Things They Carried” March 29

March 28th, 2011 by Patricia Nichtern

Being in a distant, foreign place far away from home or any sense of familiarity can make people long for and fill their mind with intimate and secure experiences to ease their mind and make themselves feel more comfortable.  “Even the vigorous adult has fleeting moments of longing for the coziness he knew” (Tuan 137).  Even Lieutenant Cross, in Vietnam, held onto the intimate memories of his love, Martha, to help him escape the horrors of war and the “responsibility” he carried “for the lives of his men” (O’Brien 597).  Being in that environment and seeing his men die before his eyes, he needed an escape to keep himself sane.  He kept his mind on Martha and the stone she gave him in his mouth to fill himself with the intimate feeling of safety and security. “He can find security and nourishment in objects, localities, and even in the pursuit of ideas”; security in the stone she gave him and the idea that she might love him (Tuan 138).  In doing so, he “became passive” and allowed himself “to be vulnerable” to compromising the safety of his men (Tuan 137).  After Ted Lavender died, Lieutenant Cross realized that his longing for home and day-dreaming, caused him to become careless in his duties.  He blamed himself and his lack of focus for Ted Lavender’s death.

The men had a difficult time dealing with the fear of dying and of death itself.  When one of their fellow men died, the men “called it by other names, as if to encyst and destroy the reality of death itself” (O’Brien 604).  “Intimate experiences are hard to express” and hard to accept as a reality (Tuan 137).

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  1. on April 18th, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    I really preferred Eng162W » “The Things They Carried” March 29. On another hand, for the practitioners, their practice is elevated to somewhat of a new higher level.

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