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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 From “The Man I Killed” to “The Lives of the Dead”

  2. The Man I killed Symbolism How does O’Brien humanize the enemy by telling his story? What does the story say about men and war? What is the argument? What does Tim’s examination of the boy’s body tell us about Tim’s feelings about his death?

  3. “Ambush” and “Style” What is the significance of the sotry’s final image? Style Why was the girl dancing? Why did it bother Azar? Why didn’t he get it?

  4. Speaking of CourageWhat can stories do? The lake as a metaphor – for what? In the field, what was the difference between courage and cowardice? “Notes” According to O’Brien, what are you doing when you tell stories about your own experiences? Ultimately, what “ruined” the story?

  5. In the Field “When a man died, there had to be blame.” What does this mandate do to the men of O’Brien’s company? Are they justified in thinking themselves at fault? How do they cope with their own feelings of culpability?

  6. Good Form What is the form that the chapter talks about? What do the following sentences mean? “I want you to know what I felt. I want you to know why story-truth is truer sometimes than happening-truth” (179). What’s the difference? O’Brien casts doubt on the veracity of the entire novel in this chapter. Why does he do so? Does it make you more or less interested in the novel? Does it increase or decrease your understanding?

  7. The Ghost Soldiers, Night Life, The Lives of the Dead How has Tim changed since “Rainy River”? The culmination of the book’s purpose: What can fiction do? How do stories “save us”? How do stories bring the dead back to us?