Martha's Letters

Jonathan Dube Period 7

Maturity From Ash
          (How burning the letters from Martha helped Jimmy Cross mature)

Generally, fire symbolizes destruction, devastation, evil, hatred and has a very deep and negative connotation. Flames can put people into misery through pain or disintegrating a prized possession. An exception was found in the burning of First Lieutenant Jimmy Cross’s letters. Jimmy Cross thought he was in love with a girl named Martha. He kept two pictures of her and two letters she had written him and brought them to Vietnam with him. He burned them after the death of Ted Lavender. These photos and the letters symbolized a lot more than just a memory of her or even more than his love for her. The letters that Martha wrote for Lt. Jimmy Cross represent his maturity and acceptance.
The first sentence of the entire book starts us off with how, “First Lieutenant Jimmy Cross carried letters from a girl named Martha, a junior at Mount Sebastian College in New Jersey” ( O‘Brien pg 1). This is a very direct and obvious method to show us the significance that the letters will have on the novel and specifically, in this chapter. Pointing out the obvious, this is a thing that   Cross carries. The name of the chapter and the book being “The Things They Carried” is no coincidence. First Lieutenant is a high ranking position, especially for a twenty-four year old boy. He is still very young in comparison to most men of such a rank. His immaturity is shown through his thought towards the pictures. He cares deeply about Martha because, “whenever he looked at the photographs, he thought of new things he should have done”(O Brien pg 5). This demonstrates immaturity because he admits to his affection being nothing but a crush. He knows Martha does not love him back. Normally, younger kids are thought of having crushes and not girlfriends. Usually if an older person likes a girl, he asks her out and develops a relationship instead of treasuring...