Why does he construct this elborate, mostly fictional, relationship with her: what does he get out of it?
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Jimmy's love for Martha gives him something to live for. She represents home, the past, memories, and the future. Martha is something to think about that doesn't involve the war, violence, or fighting. Unfortunately, his obsession with Martha also distracts him from the task at hand and interferes with his ability to effectively work with his men. Jimmy believes that thoughts of Martha impeded his work ethic and possibly caused Lavender's death, after which, he burned her letters.
Things They Carried