The Things They Carried By: Tim O’Brien
Writing Prompt - Intro • YOU HAVE TWO JOBS: • 1. Write down the questions, making corrections for capitalization and grammar as needed • 2. Respond to the questions: you should be writing for at least 7 minutes • QUESTIONS: • what do you think of War? (Is it justifiable? Necessary? Helpful? Hurtful? Why?) • where does you’re knowledge of war come from? (movies, books, history class, etc. – be specific)
Meet the Author • • Grew up in Worthington, Minnesota on a lake • • earned a degree in political science in 1968 from Macalester college • • a month later he was drafted into the Vietnam war, where he served from 1969-1970 with the 3rd Platoon, Company A, 5th Battalion, 23rd Infantry Division • • Harvard and the Washington Post • • Lives in Texas with his wife and two sons • • other works: If I Die in a Combat Zone, Box Me Up and Ship Me Home, Northern Lights, Going After Cacciato • Tim O’Brien
Genre of The Things They Carried • War drama • Characteristics: chaos of war, writing as a way to cope or gain control, intensity of experiences (both emotional and physical), glamour of war countered with gruesomeness, brotherhood • Postmodern • denies the existence of any ultimate principles • No scientific, religious, or philosophical truth that fits everyone - a characteristic of the "modern mind”. • Resists traditional characteristics of genres (this book is both fiction and non-fiction)
Leading up to the Vietnam War • Vietnam is a country used to invasion • Ancient Vietnam – China • 1800’s – France – French Indochina • 1900s - nationalist movements demanding more self-governance • Communist leader Ho Chi Minh founds theViet Minh. • World War II • France loses power and Japan steps in • Japan surrenders in 1945 • Ho Chi Minh’s forces take the capital of Hanoi, establish the Democratic Republic of Vietnam Ho Chi Minh
The First Indochina War • France comes back in 1946 to reclaim Vietnam • Ho Chi Minh’s forces are forced to retreat to the North • Minh appeals to the U.S., but U.S. aides France • Minh’s forces defeat France at DienBeinPhu in 1954 • The Geneva Accords –temporarily divided North and South Vietnam
Cold War, the U.S., Diem Regime • Domino Theory • Ngo DinhDiem – U.S. supported leader of South Vietnamese Republic of Vietnam government in 1955 • Viet Cong – communists resisting the Diem regime (backed by Ho Chi Minh) • 1963 – U.S. backs an overthrow of Diem, but new government just as ineffective and corrupt as the first
“Americanization” of the War • Lyndon B. Johnson [1963-1969] • 1964 Gulf of Tonkin resolution (carte blanche) • nearly 400,000 troops to Vietnam • Operation Rolling Thunder  • War tactics: • Attrition • Napalm • Agent Orange • Guerilla warfare
Losing Support and “Vietnamazation” • The Tet Offensive  • A U.S. tactical victory, portrayed by the media as a brutal loss • Troop morale at an all-time low • My Lai Massacre  • U.S. troops killed hundreds of unarmed Vietnam civilians • Richard Nixon [1969-1974] • Withdrew troops • Illegally bombed Viet Cong in neutral zones • The Pentagon Papers
The Cease-fire and the fall of Saigon • Henry Kissinger and Le DucTho meet for secret peace negotiations  • Nixon encourages China and the USSR to help U.S. increase bombing of North Vietnam • Cease fire: January 1973 • Last U.S. troops leave: March 1973 • U.S. continues to fund South Vietnam but focus shifts during Watergate scandal in 1974 • April 30, 1975 – South Vietnamese capitol of Saigon falls to North Vietnam, the country is reunited under Communist rule as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Media and the War • Journalists were embedded with troops for the first time • “Voluntary censorship” – lasted until 1968 Tet Offensive • TV made images of war more accessible than ever before • Coverage of the Vietnam War could (and did) powerfully sway public opinion
On June 8, 1972, Associated Press photographerNick Utwas shooting photos outside of Trang Bang village, South Vietnam. South Vietnamese planes accidentally dropped napalm bombs on Trang Bang, which had been occupied by North Vietnamese troops. What is your reaction to this photo? Do you think this photo should have been allowed to be published? Why or why not? Vietnam in the news:
Writing Prompt • YOU HAVE TWO JOBS: • 1. Write down the questions, making corrections for capitalization and grammar as needed • 2. Respond to the questions: you should be writing for at least 7 minutes QUESTIONS: • what things we’re the soldiers carrying that surprised you? • what things would you carry in your backpack if you went to war? • what did the physical things they carried tell us about the characters? Did they carry something else besides physical items?
Current Event: Writing Prompt • FIND an article • READ It • WRITE about: Who, What, When, Where, Why, How • Find a partner or group of 3: • What is your article about? • Is the reporting objective or subjective? (Does it stick to the facts or sway your opinion?) • Who is affected? • What questions do you have after reading the article? • Why is it important to keep up with current events?