During the Vietnam War, manyAmerican 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 ofhome. Or gives them an escape from reality.
In the novel “The Things TheyCarried”. By Tim O’Brien, Escapism is used by the soldiers to engage in a formof escape from a terrible situation. They will do anything to take their mindoff war. Lieutenant Jimmy Cross would read letters written by girl named Martha.Ted Lavender, who was scared, carried tranquilizers, Rat Kiley carried comicbooks. Kiowa, a devout Baptist, carried an illustrated New Testament that wasgiven to him by his father.
Henry Dobbins carried his girlfriend’s pantyhosewrapped around his neck as a comforter. The objects that were carried,signifies an escape from the war.Lieutenant Jimmy Cross, wouldescape the reality of war by reading letters from a girl named Martha. “In thelate afternoon, after a day’s march, he would dig his foxhole, wash his handsunder 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 aday’s march, he would dig his foxhole, wash his hands under a canteen, unwrapthe letters, hold them with the tips of his fingers, and spend the last hour oflight pretending.” (108, Chapter 7, WritingAbout Structure). Jimmy was in love with this girl that he couldn’t get herout of his mind.
He would spend the whole night and day just daydreaming aboutthem. He would day dream about Romantic dates and things he would’ve done toher back home. “He had difficulty keeping his attention on the war. On occasionhe would yell at his men to spread out the column, to keep their eyes open, butthen he would slip away into daydreams, just pretending, walking barefoot alongthe Jersey shore, with Martha, carrying nothing.
” (Tim O’Brien The Things They Carried 111). Jimmy was so in love with Martha that he was toodistracted. One day in April, Lavender went to urinate in the bushes, Jimmy notbeing aware of him leaving, lavender is shot dead. “Ted Lavender was deadbecause he loved her so much and could not stop thinking about her.” (110 Chapter 7 Writing About Structure). Thinkingabout Martha, gives Jimmy a escape from the war. Even though this might sound good,it comes with some consequences.
Another character that is mentionedto have carry things is Ted Lavender. Ted Lavender is an American Soldier who fearswar. According to the Novel, “Ted Lavender, who was scared, carriedtranquilizers until he was shot in the head outside the village of Than Khe inmid-April.” The tranquilizers Lavender carries, allows him to forget about thewar. It allows him to feel safe around the war.
He also felt safe using dope, thedope 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 anecessity.” (Tim O’Brien The Things TheyCarried 108).