What were the things they carried in The Things They Carried?List the items they carried and think about the variety of things, includingthe literal and figurative things they carried. Make a list...

What were the things they carried in The Things They Carried?

List the items they carried and think about the variety of things, including
the literal and figurative things they carried. Make a list of the characters , describe each one
of them, and what each carried. Were any of the items surprising? Whichones? What are some reactions to the events and feelings they bring outin the reader?

Expert Answers
teachertaylor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the first chapter of The Things They Carried, the narrator describes all the items that men carried with them during the war.  The items are characterized as such:  necessity, rank/speciality, mission, superstition, poise/dignity, and emotional baggage.  The narrator describes the immense weight that all of these things add up to, giving precise weights for the physical items (i.e. Sanders's PRC-25 radio weighed a whopping 26 pounds on its own) and describing the weight of emotion that the men had to deal with (Cross's guilt over the death of Ted Lavender).  Some of the items that the men carried appear surprising, such as Lt. Jimmy Cross's need to carry around letters and a photograph of Martha.  This would not be surprising if she were his wife or girlfriend; however, she is neither and Cross only burdens himself further by carrying around a fictional love for Martha.  But the men must balance the weight of the war with the weight of their own lives--past and present--so in this regard, Cross's feeling and need are understandable.

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The Things They Carried

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