"Night Stand" to "Things They Carried" (Weight of War,…
"Night Stand" to "Things They Carried"
Weight of War
In "Things They Carried," the weight of war O'Brien writes about is both the physical weight the men carried with them as well as the emotional baggage the soldiers endure in war.
Though he wasn't in Vietnam for long, Pelham still struggles with PTSD. In "Night Stand," the weight of being in Vietnam effects Pelham.
"“They carried these things inside, maintaining the masks of composure. (O’Brien 12)"
"That weather, that look, a forest in fog, a faint drizzle and no sky, always took him back to his foxhole in a place he couldn't name. (Woodrell)"
In "Things They Carried," Jimmy has a realization in connection to his relationship with Martha. He realizes she doesn't love him the same and his energy should be put into being a better lieutenant.
In "Night Stand," Pelham realizes a connection between him and Randall Junior. When Randall talks about his son after the war it reminds Pelham of being in Vietnam.
"Among the men there would be grumbling, of course, and maybe worse, because their days would seem longer and their loads heavier, but Lieutenant Jimmy Cross reminded himself that his obligation was not to be loved but to lead. (O'Brien 14)"
"'Here's all your main answers: Yes. I lost count. Like tossin' a bucket of chili into a fan. Pick up all you can, shovel the rest.' 'There it is.' That very phrase took Pelham back to a time of rain. (Woodrell)"
In "Things They Carried" Lavender's death greatly affected Jimmy. He felt responsible and was quite guilty. This is also brought his realization about Martha.
In "Night Stand," the death/murder of the young man takes a huge toll on Pelham. He feels guilt as well as confusion as too why the guy made him do it.
"When Pelham cursed aloud in empty rooms, he knew he was talking to the marine he'd killed. He thought of him as Junior and interrogated him in his mind. (Woodrell)"
“He felt shame. He hated himself. He had loved Martha more than his men, and as a consequence Lavender was now dead. (O’Brien 9)."
In "Things They Carried," the love Jimmy feels towards Martha seems to one sided. He uses the idea of their relationship to cope with the harshness of being in war.
In "Night Stand," Pelham and Jill are 15 years apart. Pelham doesn't tell her much about the war and his experience. This leads her to be confused when he is going through the house doing his "patrol" and at the end of the story.
"More than anything, he wanted Martha to love him as he loved her, but the letters were mostly chatty, elusive on the matter of love. (O’Brien 1)"
“Jill was unnerved when she came upon Pelham standing in the living room addressing a closet door. "Fuck you! Fuck you! Fuck you!" ‘Hon? Hon?’ (Woodrell)”