in chapter "love"
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Years after the war, Jimmy Cross goes to visit the narrator, Tim O’Brien, at O’Brien’s home in Massachusetts. They look at pictures, reminisce, drink coffee, and smoke cigarettes. Cross says he has never forgiven himself for Lavender’s death. He worries about how O’Brien might portray him if he ever writes a story about Cross. His former leader asks O’Brien to describe him as a brave and handsome man if he ever decides to put any of their experiences together into writing.
In “Love,” when Cross asks that he be portrayed as a hero, there is an emotional content in the request: the reader feels Cross’ hurt and sorrow that he has not acted as a hero. But the reader is also forced to wonder: Has O’Brien acceded to his character/friend’s demand? Or is the fiction in some other way warped or untrue?