Example research essay topic: Tansformation Of Jimmy Cross In “the Things They Carried” – 556 words

Tim O’Brien’s story, “The Things They Carried,” is
open ending. Thus, the ending becomes a new
beginning. Jimmy Cross undergoes a transformation,
in which he matures from infantry to a lieutenant.
Tim O’Brien provides his audience with a very
descriptive image of both the physical and mental
“things” the characters in the story carried. He
gives the reader insight as to how the characters
are physically and mentally dealing with the
turmoil of the war. However, in the end of the
story – Jimmy Cross – a round character, reacts to
the death of Ted Lavender, and decides to grow up.
To begin with, Jimmy Cross blames himself for the
death of Ted Lavender. He believes that Ted died
because of his own irresponsibility.

He feels this
way, for at the time of Ted’s death, Jimmy was
being pulled into a fantasy about himself and
Martha buried “…under the white sand at the
Jersey shore.” Jimmy tried to fight off the
images, but he was unable to, for “he was just a
kid at war, in love.” Lieutenant Cross did not
tell Ted Lavender to go off by himself, but since
Jimmy was responsible for the well being of all
the men, he held himself responsible. Critic Tina
Chen notes that the “death of Ted Lavender jolts
[Cross] into awareness, forcing the realization
that the romantic fantasies [of Martha and home]
are unable to meet the exigencies of combat
experience in Vietnam.” Thus, Jimmy comes to the
conclusion that if he had not been pre- occupied
with thoughts of being with Martha, Ted Lavender
wouldn’t have been shot. Jimmy’s transformation
begins when he decides to burn the pictures and
letters of his girlfriend, Martha. Cross’
subsequent burning of Martha’s letters suggests
that he’s determined to put such romantic ideas
behind him. He repeatedly convinces himself that
there will be “no more fantasies…”about Martha.
Chen seems to assert that “the burning of the
letters is a significant turning point in Cross’
development…” Cross realizes that Martha’s
feelings for him were not those of love, for she
is an English major, a girl who lives in the world
of words. Chen also suggests that ” mesmerized by
fantasies of Martha while partially cognizant of
his self-willed delusions about her requiting his
love, Lieutenant Cross cultivates within himself
an exile consciousness that continually returns to
the idea and image of home as it is embodies in
Martha.” Jimmy was holding on to the image of
Martha, and the feelings he had for her so that he
could mentally escape from the war when he needed
to Aside from abandoning the letters and pictures,
Jimmy Cross also abandons his innocense.

He wants
to concentrate on the responsibilities of leading
his men, for “he was now determined to perform his
duties firmly and without negligence.” The new
lieutenant Cross would “dispose of the good luck
pebble,” issue “new SOP’s,” and would “confiscate
the remainder of Lavender’s dope.” Overall,
Lieutenant Jimmy Cross would accept the blame for
what had happened to Ted Lavender. Although
Lieutenant Jimmy Cross uses Martha as a “metonym
for home and all its attendant images,” as stated
by Tina Chen, in the end he decides to leave the
images of his past behind. Jimmy goes through a
transformation as he abandons his innocence and
matures into a lieutenant..

Research essay sample on Tansformation Of Jimmy Cross In the Things They Carried