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Jimmy Cross Rhetorical Analysis

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In the short story taken from the novel, The Things They Carried, Tim O’ Brien narrates a chilling excerpt taken from his past during the Vietnam War. Each soldier carries a mental and physical emotional burden as they struggle through the march. The main protagonist, Lieutenant Jimmy Cross, has to lead his men through a gruesome war and is forced to transition from his unrestricted past to a life as a soldier. O’Brien reinforces the destruction of young male innocence—especially in the case of Jimmy Cross, who blames himself for the death of his soldiers. Through the use of tone and writing style consistency, diction, and symbolism, the influences of the war cause the soldiers to see war is actually hell. Jimmy Cross is forced to take the …show more content…
From the author’s point of view, O’Brien states “he was just a kid a war, in love…he couldn’t help it.” Cross’s desire to “sleep inside [Martha’s] lungs and breathe her blood” segregates his emotions from the others because he becomes to caught up in fantasy. Martha is his only path back to the innocence he once had. He carries the blame for Ted Lavender’s death because he believes “loved Martha more than this men…this was something he would have to carry like a stone.” Lorrie Smith portrays Lieutenant Cross has a dynamic character by explaining:
That night he cries "for Ted Lavender" but also for the realization, or perhaps rationalization, that "Martha did not love him and never would." Jimmy Cross regains a "mask of composure" necessary to survive war's horror, burns Martha's letters and photographs in a purgative ritual reversing the opening blessing, and wills himself to renounce Martha and all she signifies: "He hated her. Yes, he did. He hated her. Love, too, but it was a hard, hating kind of love" (23). With this rejection and a newly hardened, terse idiom, Jimmy Cross completes his transformation.

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