Question 3

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Question 3

Post  cody young on Wed May 04, 2011 7:23 pm

O' Brien puts a great deal of emphasis on Martha to show the emotional burdens wieghing on Jimmy Cross. Unlike the physical things the men carried, the intangible items could not be put down or unloaded, therefore they were a heavier burden on the men. Jimmys love for Martha distracted him from his duties in the war, and led to a casualty. I Believe the main reason why Jimmy Cross obsessed over Martha like he did was because he was unsure of her feelings towards him and felt a sense of regret for not persuing her more while he had the chance. The letters and pictures she sent him gave him a feeling that she cared for him, although the fact she never asked about the war or showed any compassion for him led to contradicting feelings. O' Brien uses martha as a way to portray the feelings and emotional burdens of Jimmy Cross to in a way that readers can understand and relate

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Response to Cody Young's "Question 3"

Post  Daniel Spinazzola on Wed May 04, 2011 8:57 pm

I agree with Cody in the sense that O'Brien did use Martha to show the emotional impact that many soldiers had during wartime. Most soldiers were forcefully drafted to Vietnam, causing a forceful seperation of each soldier's friends and families. This left each soldier with a minor rememberance of their loved ones; in Jimmy Cross's case, letters and pictures of Martha. The woman's letters and pictures comforted Cross in times of dissillusionment and hardship during the war. Martha was the only women that Cross "loved", causing him to obsess over the distance between them. But when this obsession was said by Cross to cause the death of one of his soldiers, he immediatly knew he had to get rid of it. By throwing away the items of rememberance, Cross was able to focus on his leadership skills to ensure that his men were safe. This anecdote emphasized the emotional impact that almost every soldier had during the war. O'Brien used this as a way to add to the overall physical and emotional "weight" put on the soldiers during this wartime.

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Response to question #3

Post  briejones9 on Wed May 04, 2011 9:18 pm

I agree that Martha was a distraction for Jimmy Cross, but it was also a welcome distraction. It seemed that every soldier needed someone to think about to distract him from the horrors of war. Jimmy needed Martha, even though she may not have been his true love or even his girl friend. He needed her and was grateful for anything she gave him that allowed his mind to have something to think about. She gave him something to carry with him - some kind of love that kept him going that gave him hope.

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Reponse to Cody

Post  Jaclyn Izzo on Wed May 04, 2011 9:54 pm

I completly agree with Cody, and eveyone else who has reponsed to this therad. I belive O'Brien uses Martha as a emotional burden on Lt. Cross' experience in Vietnam. O'Brien greatly describes all of the items each solider carrys, even how much they weigh on their backs. However, Lt. Cross' thoughts and love for Martha cannot be heavier than any weapon carried. I also think Lt. Cross is feeling stressed and worried that he cannot be home with Martha, this war is not helping the situation on Lt. Cross' relationship with Martha. It is mainly just barrier from keeping them together.

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Response to Cody

Post  Leanne Ottaviano on Wed May 04, 2011 10:06 pm

I agree with Cody's assertion that Martha represented the intangible things many soldiers, not only Jimmy Cross, carried with them. Martha is featured throughout this book to represent the hard feelings many soldiers experience and "carry" with them while fighting in the Vietnam war. The letters and pictures sent to Jimmy from Martha provide the reader with evidence that Martha does care enough to still talk to him and that Jimmy cares so much as to hold on to and analyze every letter he receives. The mixed signals Jimmy receives from Martha only adds to the "weight" of emotions he carries with him.

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Response to Cody

Post  Stephvil on Wed May 04, 2011 10:51 pm

I also agree with the thoughts of Cody and everyone on this thread. O' Brien uses Martha as a burden Cross carries through out the war and in a way even an incentive. Martha begins by giving Cross the strength to want to return home all and well but with the death of Lavendar uses her as distraction that has wronged his troops, and burns the memory of her to better himself as a leader overall. Martha as a character drives the will in Jimmy Cross and plays a key concept in his success in the past and present.

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Re: Question 3

Post  Greer on Thu May 05, 2011 12:09 am

I also agree with everyone in this post, except it seemed to me that Martha was symbolic of something. As I was reading I was trying to figure out what it might be, and the I thought that Martha might be representative of America. At first it seems like she's just a girl he loves from back home; the way he describes her and talks about her personality makes it seem like he's nothing more than love struck. But when Lavender dies, and Jimmy Cross blames his death on his own obsession and constant preoccupation with Martha, he takes drastic measures like burning her photographs and letters. When I read that part, it struck me as something a lot more deeply rooted than an infatuation with a human being. It was almost like he was ridding himself of hope, and breaking all the ties he had to his old life. All that time he had been thinking about Martha as a possibility, something to look forward to when he returned from war, but when Lavender died it's like that spark inside him died, too. Also, on page 23, he says, "He hated her. Yes, he did. He hated her. Love, too, but it was a hard, hating kind of love." To me, that sounds a lot like something a soldier who becomes hardened by war would say about his or her country. Especially when you think about the circumstances surrounding the Vietnam war. The soldiers didn't really know what they were fighting for, they just knew they had to fight.

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