The Things They Carried
The Things They Carried Love Summary
- After the war is over, Jimmy Cross visits Tim and the two reminisce over coffee.
- Jimmy reveals that he never forgave himself for Ted Lavender's death, at which point Tim and Jimmy decide to switch from coffee to alcohol.
- The mood lightens and around midnight, Tim feels comfortable enough to ask Jimmy about Martha. Jimmy is shocked that Tim even remembered who Martha was. He ends up showing Tim the same photograph that he carried of Martha when he was in Vietnam.
- It turns out that after Jimmy burned the first one, Martha gave him a new one after running into him at a college reunion. Here's what happened:
- Jimmy and Martha spend almost an entire day together. Martha hasn't married, and is now a Lutheran missionary who has done work in Ethiopia and Guatemala.
- Even though they seemed to be getting along OK, Martha is still distant, and doesn't even respond when Jimmy tells her that he loves her.
- At the end of the evening, he tell her about his fantasy – previously mentioned in "The Things They Carried" – about carrying her to the bed and tying her up so that he could hold her hand to his knee all night long. Yes, he did tell her about that.
- Unsurprisingly, Martha doesn't take this well, and simultaneously expresses disgust at "the things men do" and implies that she's either a lesbian or had been sexually assaulted in the past, or both.
- Well, whatever she meant, Jimmy gets it, and the next morning, Martha apologizes and explains that "there was nothing she could do about it" (Love.5).
- The two part on relatively good terms, with Martha giving Jimmy another copy of her picture.
- Back in the present, Jimmy tells Tim that no matter what, he still loves Martha.
- Tim asks Jimmy if he'd mind if he (Tim) wrote a story about it. Jimmy thinks it over and says he wouldn't, that it might even make Martha fall in love with him after all. He asks Tim to make him look good, and not mention anything about ----- [blank].
- And Tim says that he won't.