The Things They Carried

What were some symbols in chapter 1 of "The Things They Carried?"

What were some symbols in the first chapter of the book "The Things They Carried" and what do they symbolize?


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The soldiers in Vietnam carry different loads. O’Brien lists the things the soldiers carry - both physical and emotional, all have symbolism. The basic military goods and personal items: provisions, ammunition, and special ponchos that they may be wrapped in if they die-all of these represent the tools of war. Most men "hump" or carried items of emotional symbolism. One wears his girlfriend’s stockings around his neck, another carries a bible, another carries a slingshot, another comic books, another condoms. Cross carries letters from a gray-eyed English literature student named Martha. He is in love with her, but he is obsessed with whether or not she is a virgin. 


What does that mean though?