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The Things They Carried

The Things They Carried

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The Things They Carried

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  1. The Things They Carried An introduction to Tim O’Brien and his fictional account of the Vietnam War

  2. Prior Knowledge (Vocabulary) • Fabricated • Psychological warfare • Propaganda • Communists • Protagonist Vocabulary

  3. Fabricated • Made up, created. • The child fabricated a lie when asked how the lamp became broken. • The child made up a lie when asked how the lamp became broken. Vocabulary back

  4. Psychological Warfare • Tactics that use propaganda to try to demoralize an enemy in war, usually including the civilian population Vocabulary back

  5. Propaganda • Something communicated in a biased way in order to shape or change the ideas of a targeted audience • information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to help or harm a person, group, movement, institution, nation, etc. Vocabulary back

  6. Communists • One who believes in a system of government in which the state plans and controls the economy shares all goods equally with the people • Create closed state economies that barely trade with capitalist countries Vocabulary back

  7. Protagonist • The central figure of a story; The character with the lead role. Vocabulary back

  8. Relevant Facts About the Vietnam War • No fixed date that the US entered into war with Vietnam • Series of steps from 1950 – 1965 Vietnam

  9. Relevant Facts about the Vietnam War • Eisenhower fabricated a government of South Vietnam • Advisers to psychological warfare against North Vietnam Vietnam

  10. Vietnam Timeline • 1950 – Truman sent economic and military aid to the French who were trying to retain hold on their Indochina colony. • 1954 – The defeated French conceded to a communist government north of the 17th parallel. • 1960 – JFK approves Aid • 1964 – US began sending combat troops as a result of The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. Vietnam

  11. Vietnam Timeline • 1965 – 1966 Military escalation because S. Vietnam couldn’t handle things • 1967 – Draft began. Antiwar Protests happening across US • 1969 –My Lai Massacre where US soldiers kill a village full of civilians • 1972 – Ceasefire • 1973 – Paris Peace Agreement Click here for an online timeline offered by Vietnam

  12. Vietnam Demographics • Location • Religion • People Vietnam

  13. Vietnam Demographics • Location – South of China, East of Laos and Cambodia, West of South China Sea Here is an interesting interactive map of places mentioned in the book Vietnam

  14. Religion • Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Tam Giao (tri-religion, …) Vietnam

  15. Religions *Other religions include: Hoa Hao (1.5%), Cao Dai (1.1%), Protestant (.5%, and Muslim (.1%)

  16. People of Vietnam 80% ethnic Vietnamese 20% - 50+ different ethnic minority groups, hill tribes Languages spoken: Vietnamese, Chinese, English, French, Russian Vietnam

  17. What Do You Need to Know About the Book Before Reading It? • It is ALL fiction! • Facts are not important! • Emotional effect of incidents is what is important.

  18. Tim O’Brien (author) vs. “Tim O’Brien” (character, narrator) • Protagonist and sometime narrator is “Tim O’Brien”. This “Tim O’Brien” in the book is NOT REAL. • Even when “Tim O’Brien” talks directly to the reader, it is the fictional “Tim”.

  19. Example of the narrator “Tim O’Brien” speaking directly to the reader “Now and then, when I tell this story [about the baby water buffalo], someone will come up to me afterward and say she liked it. It’s always a woman. “…. What I should do”, she’ll say, “is put it all behind me. Find new stories to tell.” “I wont say it but I’ll think it. “I’ll picture Rat Kiley’s face, his grief, and I’ll think, You dumb cooze. “Because she wasn’t listening. “It wasn’t a war story. It was a love story.” ~ “How to Tell a True War Story”, pgs 84 - 85

  20. Tim O’Brien • The author Tim did actually go to Vietnam and really was in the Alpha Company, but is writing a fictional account. Tim O'Brien

  21. Literary Devices found in The Things They Carried Imagery Mood Point of View Characterization Symbolism Metaphor Irony Lit devices

  22. Imagery • Vivid language that puts a picture in the mind of the reader • Example: • “His jaw was in his throat, his upper lip and teeth were gone, his one eye was shut, his other eye was a star-shaped hole…” (pg. 124) Lit devices

  23. Mood • Feeling author wants the reader to have while reading • Example: • In the story “Ghost Soldiers” Tim wants the reader to feel the fear of being on night watch. Lit devices

  24. Point of View • The attitude or outlook of a narrator or character. • Example: • The narrator “Tim O’Brien” is against war and thinks himself a coward for going to Vietnam Lit devices

  25. Characterization • What the characters are like; their personalities • Example: • Henry Dobbins is superstitious and believes in luck because he carries extra rations and his girlfriend’s pantyhose. Lit devices

  26. Metaphor • Compare two things that are unlike in any way (without using like or as) • Example: • The disjointed telling of the story is a metaphor for life as a soldier in Vietnam Lit devices

  27. Symbolism • An object that represents a larger idea • Example • The Silver Star is a medal that symbolizes courage and honor Lit devices

  28. Irony • The opposite of what is expected happens • Example: • When 2 characters are goofing off and having a good time, a bomb goes off and kills one. Lit devices

  29. Tim O'Brien biography:The Early Years • Born in Austin on Oct. 1, 1946 and grew up in a small town in Minnesota • He shares this birth date with several of his characters • Dad was an insurance salesman • Mom was an elementary school teacher Tim O'Brien

  30. Tim O'Brien Biography:College Life • Political science major at Macalester College, attended peace vigils and war protests • Graduated in 1968 Tim O'Brien

  31. Tim O'Brien Biography:To Go to War? • Received his draft notice upon graduation • Was against the war: hated Boy Scouts, bugs, and rifles. • Considered deserting to Canada once he received his classification as an infantryman Tim O'Brien

  32. Tim O'Brien Biography:In Vietnam • Assigned to the 3rd Platoon, Alpha Company, 5th battalion, 46th Infantry as a foot soldier • Served in Vietnam from 1969-1970 • Returned home with a Purple Heart • Was wounded by shrapnel from a hand grenade Tim O'Brien

  33. Tim O'Brien Biography:Views on Vietnam • Now believes it was an act of cowardice to go to war instead of fleeing to Canada • Was 22 years old and feared the disapproval of his family and friends, his townspeople and country • Hated every minute of Vietnam Tim O'Brien

  34. Tim O'Brien Biography:Life after Vietnam • After returning to the states, he became a grad student at Harvard. • Left Harvard to become a newspaper reporter for The Washington Post. • Began writing fiction about Vietnam Tim O'Brien

  35. Works by Tim O’Brien • If I Die in Combat (1973) • Northern Lights (1975) • Going after Cacciato (1978) • The Nuclear Age (1985) • The Things They Carried (1990) • In the Lake of the Woods (1994) Tim O'Brien

  36. Tim O'Brien Biography:Current Whereabouts • Is currently a visiting professor and chair at Southwest Texas State University where he teaches in the Creative Writing Program Tim O'Brien

  37. Tim O’Brien • Claims he still gets calls from people, asking questions, offering their own opinions about what happened. • They want to know, missing the point of the novel, that life often does not offer solutions or resolutions, that it is impossible to know completely what secrets lurk within people Tim O'Brien

  38. Abbreviations found in The Things They Carried Vocabulary

  39. Resources