The Things They Carried

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Lee Strunk Character Analysis

Accuses Dave Jensen of being crazy for breaking his own nose to make them "square" after Jensen shattered Strunk's nose. Becomes close with Jensen soon after and signs a pact that promises one will kill the other if either of them is wounded enough in battle that they are wheelchair bound. Strunk dies in a medic chopper after most of his right leg is blown off. Before leaving, he begs Jensen not to kill him.

Lee Strunk Quotes in The Things They Carried

The The Things They Carried quotes below are all either spoken by Lee Strunk or refer to Lee Strunk. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Mortality and Death Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Houghton Mifflin edition of The Things They Carried published in 1990.
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Lee Strunk Character Timeline in The Things They Carried

The timeline below shows where the character Lee Strunk appears in The Things They Carried. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Things They Carried
Mortality and Death Theme Icon
On April 16, Lee Strunk draws the number to go down. The men all feel sympathy for Lee Strunk because... (full context)
Mortality and Death Theme Icon
Lee Strunk eventually emerges, grinning and filthy, and everyone claps. Lee Strunk makes a ghost sound, trying... (full context)
Spin
Mortality and Death Theme Icon
Morality Theme Icon
Storytelling and Memory Theme Icon
...them to safety. Jimmy Cross gave the poppa-san a hug while Mitchell Sanders and Lee Strunk gave him boxes of C rations. The old man had tears in his eyes as... (full context)
Enemies
Morality Theme Icon
Storytelling and Memory Theme Icon
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.... (full context)
Mortality and Death Theme Icon
...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 revenge, but there was... (full context)
Mortality and Death Theme Icon
Morality Theme Icon
...going on, Jensen sat stiffly against a wall with his weapon at the ready, watching Strunk. (full context)
Mortality and Death Theme Icon
Morality Theme Icon
Shame and Guilt Theme Icon
One afternoon, Jensen finally snapped and started firing his gun into the air while yelling Strunk's name. He didn't stop until he was out of ammunition. Everyone was on the ground,... (full context)
Mortality and Death Theme Icon
Morality Theme Icon
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 nodded. (full context)
Friends
Mortality and Death Theme Icon
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 over the next... (full context)
Mortality and Death Theme Icon
Social Obligation Theme Icon
Morality Theme Icon
In October, Lee Strunk stepped on a rigged mortar round which blew off his right leg at the knee.... (full context)
Mortality and Death Theme Icon
Social Obligation Theme Icon
Morality Theme Icon
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 Strunk was still... (full context)
Mortality and Death Theme Icon
Social Obligation Theme Icon
Morality Theme Icon
Strunk was taken to the chopper when it arrived. Jensen touched Strunk's good leg and told... (full context)