The Things They Carried Cross Rhetorical Analysis

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Not all of the soldiers have physical objects from home that they carry, but all of them carry emotional burdens from home. Cross is a relatively strong character who is the leader of sixteen other men, but Cross has a major emotional distractor from the war, the girl from the letters named Martha. In the first paragraph O’Brien states, “She was a virgin, he was almost sure” to give the reader an idea of the type of woman Martha was, but the word virgin not taking on a literal meaning, instead, a more symbolic one (page 101). According to Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary, a virgin can be defined as, “a person who does not have experience in a particular activity, job, etc.” Cross is not utterly fixed on Martha’s sexual virginity; he is…show more content…
This type of responsibility could be very weighing on Dobbins due to all the variabilities that could go wrong while in combat. For example reloading his gun correctly, and fast enough; if he does not load it fast enough, then one of his men could die because he is supposed to be their heaviest gunner who does the most damage to the enemy. These thoughts weighing on Dobbins mind anytime that their platoon is marching could make the march even harder, and seem longer. Dave Jensen’s actions of carrying a lucky rabbit’s foot further proves to be an extension of all the young soldiers’ feelings. Jensen carries a lucky rabbit’s foot to superstitiously protect himself from possibly dying in the war. All of the soldiers feel the same way, although none of them ever speak about how truly terrified they are; some people, like Jensen and Ted Lavender, showed their feelings more, but still never spoke of them. The fact that Lavender openly took drugs to subside his mind and control his feelings was a way of being a coward in the eyes of all the other men. The other men do their best to hide their feelings and fight for their country, but Lavender does his best to escape his reality; that is ultimately Lavender’s…show more content…
They were fighting because they were told to fight, their actions showing this. Even though their platoon does not see very much combat, when they do, it has a lasting impression on the men. They fight for their lives, and then after, be terrified that something has happened to their bodies, “They would touch their bodies, feeling shame, then quickly hiding it. They would force themselves to stand” (page 109). The men check over themselves first, to see if anything is injured and after doing so quickly, pretend to have not checked themselves before checking on the wellbeing of the others; these actions being symbolic of all their fear and burdens. After Ted Lavender’s death some of the soldiers in the platoon have realizations to themselves. Cross has a sudden realization of how real this war actually is. Cross burns his letters from Martha, a symbolic action because he already has all of Martha’s letters memorized. His action is symbolic of ridding the world of the ignorance of war. He entered the war a virgin, and he is angry at the world for not preparing him and informing all the other virgins. Martha is a virgin, and her letters represent that to him and in destroying them, he was destroying her ignorance. Kiowa also has the realization of the reality of the war, and also the reality of how selfish he actually is. Kiowa is eternally grateful for not being

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