an introduction to tim o brien and his fictional account of the vietnam war n.
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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. An introduction to Tim O’Brien and his fictional account of the Vietnam War The Things They Carried

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

  3. Vocabulary 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. back

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

  5. Vocabulary 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. back

  6. Vocabulary 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 back

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

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

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

  10. Vietnam 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.

  11. Vietnam 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

  12. Vietnam Vietnam Demographics Location Religion People

  13. Vietnam 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

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

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

  22. Lit devices 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) Imagery

  23. Lit devices 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. Mood

  24. Lit devices 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 Point of View

  25. Lit devices 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. Characterization

  26. Lit devices 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 Metaphor

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

  28. Lit devices 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. Irony

  29. Tim O'Brien 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

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

  31. Tim O'Brien 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

  32. Tim O'Brien 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

  33. Tim O'Brien 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

  34. Tim O'Brien 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

  35. Tim O'Brien 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)

  36. Tim O'Brien 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

  37. Tim O'Brien 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

  38. Vocabulary Abbreviations found in The Things They Carried

  39. Resources