The Things They Carried Formalist Analysis/ Readers Responce

1158 words 5 pages
The Things They Carried Ben Cornelius
The story “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien is an enormously detailed fictional account of a wartime scenario in which jimmy Cross (the story’s main character) grows as a person, and the emotional and physical baggage of wartime are brought to light. The most obvious and prominent feature of O’Brien’s writing is a repetition of detail. O’brien also passively analyzes the effects of wartime on the underdeveloped psyche by giving the reader close up insight into common tribulations of war, but not in a necessarily expositorial sense.. He takes us into the minds of mere kids as they cope with the unbelievable and under-talked-about effects or rationalizing
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They must start to understand the complex nature of extremely volatile geopolitical relationships and put their own nature aside to assume the identity of a nation. An identity which is intrinsically corrupted.
As a reader I was very much disturbed at Cross’ loss of innocence. After Lavender dies, Cross crouches in his foxhole in the rain and burns the two pictures of Mary that he has as well as the letters. I think that the symbolism of rain here is really poten,t but also carries contradictory messages to the reader. Rain in general, is a symbol of purification, but I think in this context it is also symbolic of extreme sadness and depression. I like the fact that, through personification, the rain could represent innocence trying to preserve itself. This means that he rain itself doesn’t want cross to burn the pictures. Also, in the aforementioned contradictory sense, the rain also represents the extreme sadness that is accompanied by crosses loss.
It is also important to note that this loss of innocence is supplemented by an image of death. When Cross burns the pictures and letters it could be viewed as cremation. I felt the same sense of loss while reading this as the bereaved would feel. This part of the story represents a very literal death of innocence.
In the same paragraph Cross explains that he now Hates Mary. Because in Cross’ mind Mary is responsible for his own distraction

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