During the Vietnam War, many
American soldiers feared death. They thought they were going to die any minute.
The only way they would feel comfort, is by carrying stuff that reminds them of
home. Or gives them an escape from reality. In the novel “The Things They
Carried”. By Tim O’Brien, Escapism is used by the soldiers to engage in a form
of escape from a terrible situation. They will do anything to take their mind
off war. Lieutenant Jimmy Cross would read letters written by girl named Martha.
Ted Lavender, who was scared, carried tranquilizers, Rat Kiley carried comic
books. Kiowa, a devout Baptist, carried an illustrated New Testament that was
given to him by his father. Henry Dobbins carried his girlfriend’s pantyhose
wrapped around his neck as a comforter. The objects that were carried,
signifies an escape from the war.
Lieutenant Jimmy Cross, would
escape the reality of war by reading letters from a girl named Martha. “In the
late afternoon, after a day’s march, he would dig his foxhole, wash his hands
under a canteen, unwrap the letters, hold them with the tips of his fingers,
and spend the last hour of light pretending. “In the late afternoon, after a
day’s march, he would dig his foxhole, wash his hands under a canteen, unwrap
the letters, hold them with the tips of his fingers, and spend the last hour of
light pretending.” (108, Chapter 7, Writing
About Structure). Jimmy was in love with this girl that he couldn’t get her
out of his mind. He would spend the whole night and day just daydreaming about
them. He would day dream about Romantic dates and things he would’ve done to
her back home. “He had difficulty keeping his attention on the war. On occasion
he would yell at his men to spread out the column, to keep their eyes open, but
then he would slip away into daydreams, just pretending, walking barefoot along
the Jersey shore, with Martha, carrying nothing.” (Tim O’Brien The Things They Carried 111). Jimmy was so in love with Martha that he was too
distracted. One day in April, Lavender went to urinate in the bushes, Jimmy not
being aware of him leaving, lavender is shot dead. “Ted Lavender was dead
because he loved her so much and could not stop thinking about her.” (110 Chapter 7 Writing About Structure). Thinking
about Martha, gives Jimmy a escape from the war. Even though this might sound good,
it comes with some consequences.
Another character that is mentioned
to have carry things is Ted Lavender. Ted Lavender is an American Soldier who fears
war. According to the Novel, “Ted Lavender, who was scared, carried
tranquilizers until he was shot in the head outside the village of Than Khe in
mid-April.” The tranquilizers Lavender carries, allows him to forget about the
war. It allows him to feel safe around the war. He also felt safe using dope, the
dope was a drug that manipulated with his head and made him feel safe and calm.
“Ted Lavender carried six or seven ounces of premium dope, which for him was a
necessity.” (Tim O’Brien The Things They