The Things They Carried

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Dave Jensen Character Analysis

A soldier who becomes so plagued with guilt and fear of retribution after he breaks Lee Strunk's nose during an argument, that Jensen breaks his own nose. Strunk and Jensen become friends and make a pact to kill off the other if they become wheelchair bound. When Strunk dies after losing a leg, Jensen is relieved to not have to follow through.
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Dave Jensen Character Timeline in The Things They Carried

The timeline below shows where the character Dave Jensen appears in The Things They Carried. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Things They Carried
Storytelling and Memory Theme Icon
...army mandates, but also by each soldiers' personal quirks. Henry Dobbins carries extra rations. Dave Jensen carries a toothbrush, dental floss, and soap. Ted Lavender ("who was scared") carries tranquilizers. Mitchell... (full context)
Mortality and Death Theme Icon
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The things they carry are determined by superstition: Lieutenant Jimmy Cross' pebble, Dave Jensen's rabbit foot, Norman Bowker carries a dead man's thumb that was a gift from Mitchell... (full context)
Enemies
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On a morning in late July, LZ Gator, Lee Strunk, and Dave Jensen got in a fistfight over a missing jackknife while out on patrol. It was a... (full context)
Mortality and Death Theme Icon
...would have ended there, but because this was Vietnam where everyone had a gun, Dave Jensen became paranoid that Strunk would get his revenge. Strunk had made no claims about wanting... (full context)
Mortality and Death Theme Icon
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After a week, Jensen "couldn't relax" – he said it was like "fighting two different wars." He could no... (full context)
Mortality and Death Theme Icon
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Shame and Guilt Theme Icon
One afternoon, Jensen finally snapped and started firing his gun into the air while yelling Strunk's name. He... (full context)
Mortality and Death Theme Icon
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Shame and Guilt Theme Icon
With a broken nose, Jensen approached Strunk's foxhole and showed him the damage, asking him if they were even. Strunk... (full context)
Friends
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Social Obligation Theme Icon
Shame and Guilt Theme Icon
Dave Jensen and Lee Strunk didn't become fast friends but they started to trust each other more... (full context)
Mortality and Death Theme Icon
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As they waited for a chopper, Dave Jensen went to Strunk's side. The stump wasn't twitching anymore and not everyone was sure if... (full context)
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Strunk was taken to the chopper when it arrived. Jensen touched Strunk's good leg and told him to "Go on now." Strunk died somewhere over... (full context)
How to Tell a True War Story
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...the jungle. Mitchell Sanders was playing with his yo-yo, Norman Bowker and Kiowa and Dave Jensen were trying to nap. Except for Rat Kiley and Curt Lemon making noise, things were... (full context)
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...else stood around without speaking. Then someone kicked the animal. It was barely alive. Dave Jensen said he'd never seen anything like that in his life. Kiowa and Mitchell Sanders carried... (full context)
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...Parts of Curt Lemon were hanging above in a tree after he died so Dave Jensen and O'Brien were ordered to retrieve them. O'Brien remembers pieces of Lemon, but the thing... (full context)
In the Field
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Shame and Guilt Theme Icon
...his chest, arms, and face were cut from shrapnel. Dobbins said it could be worse. Jensen asks him how, but Dobbins doesn't answer. They all carry the body, trying not to... (full context)
The Ghost Soldiers
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In March, the Alpha Company came to the HQ. Mitchell Sanders, Azar, Henry Dobbins, Dave Jensen, and Norman Bowker all shook O'Brien's hand and he drove them to their quarters. They... (full context)
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...contact and Jorgenson kind of nodded at him, But looking at Jorgenson sitting with Dave Jensen and Mitchell Sanders, and fitting in really well, pushed O'Brien over the edge in deciding... (full context)
Night Life
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...you'd worry about being separated from the group. Different soldiers coped in different ways: Dave Jensen took vitamins high in carotene, Lt. Jimmy Cross took NoDoz, Henry Dobbins and Norman Bowker... (full context)
The Lives of the Dead
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...The village was deserted except for one dead, old man lying near a pigpen. Dave Jensen shook the dead man's hand. The other soldiers followed suit. It was O'Brien's fourth day... (full context)