Females of The Things They Brought
In The Important Things They Brought, by Tim O’brien, American soldiers are battling a war Vietnam, a nation that is halfway around the world from their house and families. The novel concentrates on the experiences of the soldiers including Lieutenant Jimmy Cross and Mark Fossie. Given that the war is a hard and separating experience, both guys have a female in your home they seek convenience and assurance from: Martha and Mary Anne Belle, respectively. Lt. Cross and Martha are pen pals whereas Fossie and Mary Anne are childhood sweeties. Martha and Mary Anne both at first work as an escape from the war for Lt.
Cross and Fossie, nevertheless, when Mary Anne comes to Vietnam, she loses her innocence and becomes swallowed up in the war and land that surrounds her. In doing so, she ruins Fossie’s fantasy of seeking comfort from her whereas Martha remains the exact same throughout the war and can continue to be an escape from reality for Lt. Cross. When Martha and Mary Anne are first introduced, they are depicted as sweet and innocence through the description of their clothes and bodies. Despite the fact that Martha does not feel the exact same method about Lt. Cross as Lt.
Cross does about her, he still consumes over her letters, photos, and the memories they shared prior to his release. He believes that she is a sweet, innocent girl due to the fact that in her letters she “often estimated lines of poetry; she never ever mentioned the war” (1 ). Through her letters such as the one where she informed him about finding a pebble on the Jersey shoreline and her lovely analysis of its symbolic significance, he is able to escape the realities of the war to a place in his mind where he is at peace and “would feel himself increasing.
Sun and waves and gentle winds, all love and lightness” (9 ). The image of Martha and the possibility of having a future with her enable Lt. Cross to not totally succumb to the darkness of the war. Mary Anne plays a comparable function for Mark Fossie nevertheless rather of supplying convenience through words, she is able to offer him comfort through being physically near him. When she arrives she is simply -“charming blonde– simply a kid, just barely out of high school” wearing “white culottes and this hot pink sweatshirt” which personifies her innocence (90 ).
For Fossie his source of convenience is now tangible and they have the ability to “moon over each other” and hold hands. As soon as Mary Anne begins getting settled in Vietnam, her curious nature leads her to wish to learn more about the country and individuals. She does not take her existence in Vietnam for approved and thinks that she “may also learn something” while she exists (96 ). She rapidly adjusts to intensity of the aid station and is not “scared to get her hands bloody” in order to assist the medics.
Her feministic qualities start to fade as she got more familiar with her life at the station as she “stopped using jewelry, cut her hair short and covered it in a dark green bandana” (98 ). Her personality begins to alter also and instead of having a “come-get-me energy” (95 ), her “bubbliness [i] s gone” (99 ). Through her direct exposure to the evils and enjoyment of war, Mary Anne ultimately loses her innocence and realizes that her purpose is to be a part of the Green Berets, not the stereotyped female function of a docile buddy of a male.
This leaves Fossie alone without the woman he believed he would be able to depend on for the rest of his live to be his source of support. On the other hand, Martha stays a far-off buddy who is not exposed to the horrors of the war which permits her to continue to offer the image of hope and possibility for Lt. Cross. Even though Ted Lavenders life ended partly due to the Lt. Cross’s psychological distraction of Martha, he puts the blame on himself, not Martha.
He takes the responsibility which ensures that she remains innocent and untainted by his death. He wants to preserve the pure images of Martha, among “legs of a virgin, dry and without hair” (4 ). By doing so, he has the ability to reconnect with her once the war is over and lastly reveal his real feelings. In both Lt. Cross and Fossie’s mind, Martha and Mary Anne are at first the reasons for them to fight for survival every day. In the beginning, these females represent hope and supply them comfort by enabling them to picture or picture normalcy.
When Mary Anne joins Fossie in Vietnam, she loses her innocence like how the rest of the soldiers do and enters into the war. Considering that she is no longer on the outside, she can not supply that exact same sense of comfort for him. Martha, on other hand, remains on the outside and is just an image in Lt. Cross’s mind. Her letters offer him an outlet to remember that there is great beyond the evils of the war the encompass him. By the end war, Martha has actually kept her image as a pure, sweet woman whereas Mary Anne is now a dangerous warrior.