Faith in the Things They Carried

Henry Dobbins wears his girlfriend’s pantyhose around his neck for protection and comfort. He is much more confident when he equips the stockings, therefore they act as a talisman that shield him from the evils of war. “Dobbins was invulnerable. Never wounded, never a scratch… No cover at all, but he just slipped the pantyhose over his nose and breathed deep and let the magic do its work” (O’ Brine 112). O’Brien uses Dobbins as an example to show the implementation of faith and hope. Through Dobbins and his close relationship with the pantyhose, It Is shown how mentality can affect reality.
The stockings not only display the importance of faith and a positive attitude, but also a yearning for femininity, revealing the softer side of Dobbins. They express his longing for love and home. With the stockings, Dobbins journeys through the war untouched and fearless. “It turned us into a platoon of believers… ‘No sweat,’ he said. The magic doesn’t go away” (O’Brien 112). The leggings give Dobbins a of the other platoon members. They began to make the soldiers rely on superstition rather than rationality because the twists of the Jungle were unpredictable.
Even after his girlfriend dumped him, Dobbins remained immaculately brave which means hat the power of the stockings did not come from love or his memories, but Dobbin’s himself. “A heroic warrior whose victories… Affirm the country fundamental goodness and power” (Gibson 510). He was able to find hope more than anyone else in the platoon and because of that, Dobbins is singled out as a simple, yet unique individual who can take on the obstructions and terrors of war by simply remaining himself. Throughout the war Lieutenant Jimmy Cross, the platoon leader, can’t resist reminiscing about his hungering love for Martha.

His anticipation for returning home after the war only grows heavier as his thoughts overrun his mind. This uncontrollability leads to Lavender’s death on which Cross can’t ever forgive himself for letting happen. “Lavender was dead. You couldn’t burn the blame” (O’Brien 22). His guilt and remorse builds up too point where he tries to rid his mind of the tragedy by burning his memories of Martha, changing nothing. This is essential to understanding Cross’ character because no matter what harm comes his way, he ties it back to Martha.
Several years after the war, Lieutenant Cross visits O’Brien house ND tells him about how Martha gave him another photo at a college reunion. When O’Brien tells Cross that he wants to write a story about Martha and Cross, Cross replies, “Why not? Maybe she’ll read it and come begging. There’s always hope, right? ” (O’Brien 28). In the war, Lieutenant Cross puts his faith in returning to Martha because it gives him something worth fighting for. He is completely broken when he finds out she doesn’t love him, yet still loves her and wants to be with her.
Likewise, O’Brien teaches through Cross that many soldier’s would have the high expectations f coming home after war to find their dreams come true, clearly that is not always the case. Even though Cross isn’t fully satisfied, he still believes that there is a possibility that Martha will come back to him after O’Brien writes a story of him as brave, handsome and heroic. Muff need to persist, to listen, and to give them something to hold on to, something that gives them a sense of possibility’ (Kowtowing 206). Both Martha and O’Brien offer Cross something to look forward to, a reason to keep his hopes up and remain positive.

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