The Things They Carried

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The Things They Carried Synopsis — Tim O’Brien’s work The Things They Carried is a collection of twenty-two stories, which can stand alone or act as chapters of a whole novel. Narrated by Tim O’Brien (character with the same name of the author), this semi-biographical collection focuses on the Alpha Company and the fate of its soldiers as they return home to America from the Vietnam War.

Chapter Titles and Synopses — Students may use this resource to help them keep track of the various chapters (stories) in the collection.

The Things They Carried Sections and Assignments – Students must choose two sections (in addition to the story “The Things They Carried” — which we will read as a class) and must answer the attached questions and write short paragraph summaries as well as personal responses to each story in the section they choose. ***All of these will be due by Tuesday May 31st in class. (This is up in the air right now — in case there are not enough copies for each student, then we will change this assignment).

The Things They Carried” Reading Questions: Students must answer these questions using complete sentences and cite specific textual evidence (when appropriate).  These are due in class by Tuesday May 24th.

Section 1 Reading: “The Things They Carried” (p. 1-26)

Journal activity:

  1. How do the things these men carry help define them as individuals?  Use specific examples?  What are some of the more interesting items?  Which “things” were unexpected?
  2. What would you carry if you went to war?  Explain the significance of each item and how it/they define you as an individual.

Things You Carry Paper — This is the prompt sheet for the paper that the students will be writing connected to this reading. Students must follow the directions provided for the assignment, and the majority of this assignment will take place outside of class.

The Things They Carried Full Text (PDF) – Students can use this if they missed the reading in class since there are not enough copies for students to take home.