The world is constantly changing anywhere from advancements in technology to changes in the environment. Humans are also always changing mentally and physically. When the men in “The Things They Carry” get drafted into war they are forced to face many changes in their lives. To cope with all of these changes many people shut them out and ignore them. Ignoring or not embracing change is one of the worst mistakes a person could make.
Dave Jensen and Lee Strunk didn’t start off as friends at all. However, based off of this story, when a person is at war they need to learn to trust people extremely fast. The two men made a pact that if either of them ever got critically injured in battle, than the other would kill him. They signed a document and had witnesses. When Lee got his leg blown off this pact went out the window. Lee said “But you’ve got to promise. Swear it to me--Swear you won't kill me. Jensen nodded his head and said “I swear,”...” Lee died shortly after that. In this scenario Jensen embraced change extremely quickly and went back on his written word. The two men changed their pact. Many people would have stuck with it because they wouldn’t want to change what they said. Jensen wouldn’t kill his friend because he didn’t want to have that burden.
Before Lieutenant Jimmy Cross went to war he met a woman named Martha. He quickly fell in love with Martha. Throughout the beginning of the book he could not stop thinking of her. This caused him to lead his men into a bad situation and someone got killed. “He felt shame. He hated himself. He had loved martha more than his men, and as a consequence Lavender was now dead, and this was something he would have to carry in his stomach for the rest of the war.” Soon after that he came to a realization “... and because he realized that she did not love him and never would.” When Jimmy Cross went into the war he wasn’t ready to embrace the change of leaving Martha behind. Jimmy hung onto Martha like a little kid with a pacifier who just isn’t ready to give it up. Him going into battle with his mind full of thoughts about Martha got one of his men killed. He now needs to live with that. He got a man killed because he wasn’t ready to embrace change. By the time he finally realized the truth about Martha and his relationship, it was too late.
''I went to my room in the basement and started pounding the typewriter,'' he recalled. ''I did it all summer. It was the most terrible summer of my life, worse than being in the war. My conscience kept telling me not to go, but my whole upbringing told me I had to. That horrible summer made me a writer. I don't know what I wrote. I've still got it, reams of it, but I'm not willing to look at it. It was just stuff - bitter, bitter stuff, and it's probably full of self-pity. But that was the beginning.'' Tim O’Brien getting drafted into the war seemed like the worst thing possible to him. However, he embraced this change. By coming to the realization that he should just accept this life changing encounter instead of pushing it away. By accepting it, it made him the writer he is today. He vented his anger but acceptance of this change by writing and it made into an extremely successful author.
When people are faced with change they either choose to embrace it or ignore it. By ignoring change people put themselves into situations that aren’t always the best. It’s best to embrace change instead of completely ignoring it.
It was finally December and that meant it was almost Christmas! Christmas time meant a million phone calls from every family member asking what I wanted. One call was special though. It was the phone call from my grandmom that always stuck out to me. We had a great relationship but many people would call it strange. For starters, I didn’t call her my grandmom. I called her my aunt. I did this because she always said she was to young to be a grandmom. She wanted me to call her Aunt Jan so that’s what I did. She was also a very open person. Anything that was on her mind she would say. That’s what I loved, but sometimes hated, about her. She had a saying “Lord keep one hand on my shoulder, and the other on my mouth.” So back to the phone call. It always started with a “how was your day?” I’d say “Good, what about you?” Then it would go on to “So Bella you know it’s that time of the year right.” We’d talk about how I’ve already talked to a billion people and told them all the same thing, I just want money. After finally telling her something different than money, we’d hang up. When Christmas came along I would go to her house in the morning, still wearing my pajamas. I would see all the things I asked for but every year there was always one extra thing. It was the same thing every year just a little different. It was a Victoria Secret sweat suit. The only difference between this years and last years was the color. She never got me the same color two years in a row. The last sweat suit I ever got from her was purple, one of her favorite colors.
A few months before the Christmas of 2012 we got some bad news. Aunt Jan got diagnosed with breast cancer. It was a really hard thing for all of us to wrap our heads around because none of us saw it coming. My grandmom fought hard and beat cancer once. When Christmas of 2012 came nothing changed. We had our same phone call. I still went there in the morning, just our usual Christmas.
After Christmas her cancer came back, and it came back stronger than before. Unfortunately, on one sad day in May of 2013, my grandmom lost her battle to breast cancer. Cancer had gotten the best of her and none of us could believe it. We all knew that she wasn't going to make it because that's what the doctors told us but we still had hope that she would beat it again. None of us were ready to accept the fact that she would be gone, especially me.
I saw her the night before she died. I looked at her and she looked back at me with a very particular look. A look that said the words I never wanted to hear, without even saying them. A look that was certain that her time here was over. It hurt to bad to agree with her.
After her death I wasn't ready to accept all the changes that were about to happen. I started to let my life fall apart. In my eyes the only way to really deal with my problems was to drink. Where I live teen drinking is a pretty normal thing. Almost everyone teenager drinks to have fun. That's not why I started though. Sure it might of seemed like I was having fun in the moment, but when I got home and it was just me it wasn't fun anymore. I called her phone almost every night and listened to her voicemail over and over again. I left long messages of the things I never got to say. I hoped that one day maybe, just maybe, she would answer.
I knew that it was time to finally accept that she was gone. The final realization was when Christmas of 2014 came along. I didn't get that phone call I usually got. When I went there in the morning, there wasn't a sweatsuit waiting for me to change into. The house felt empty and not whole. All the things that we did together, I would now have to do by myself.
When I finally accepted this change I realized that everything was going to be okay. I knew that she wouldn't want me to let my life fall apart just because she isn't here anymore. I knew that if she were here she would ask me what the hell I was doing with myself. Whenever I felt down I would just ask myself how she would react if she were still here. By accepting the fact that just because she's gone physically, doesn't mean she's gone spiritually. I know that she's always there watching over me and I'm now able to accept that and be a better person because of it.
Works Cited for Analytical Essay:
Bruckner, D.J. "A Storyteller For the War That Won't End." New York Times Online. The New York Times. April 3, 1990. Web. October 20, 2009.
O'Brien, Tim. The Things They Carried. New York: Broadway, 1998. Print.