Give information on Lt. Jimmy Cross from The Things They Carried.

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teachertaylor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In The Things They Carried, Lt. Jimmy Cross is the leader of the Alpha Company, but he is not a strong leader.  When the novel opens, the narrator describes the letters and photographs that Cross carries of Martha, a girl whom he knows, but with whom he is not in a formal relationship.  Cross is largely distracted by his love for Martha and looks forward to the day when he can go home to see her again.  The narrator describes the physical things that the men carry, but also references the mental things that the men must carry.  For Lt. Cross, he carries the blame for the death of Ted Lavender and the burden of trying to keep the rest of the men in his company alive. Cross may be seen as a metaphor for the Vietnam war--he is largely incompetent as a leader because he has traditional training, yet this war operates on grounds that are anything but traditional.  The rules of war are undefined and shifting, and this causes Cross to feel unstable as a leader.  He thus allows himself to be consumed by the fiction of his and Martha's "relationship" and is never wholly present when around the other men.

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The Things They Carried

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