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The Things They Carried- Introduction

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Louise Robinson-Lay

on 19 March 2015

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Transcript of The Things They Carried- Introduction

An Introduction
The Things They Carried
Tim O'Brien

The Context
Questions from the video
Nearly 9 million men served in the military
between 1964 and 1975
Context: The Author
1. Why did Tim O'Brien write The Things They Carried?
2. What does Tim O'Brien say about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? How does this relate to the way the American public views these wars?
3. What does his statement "A bullet can kill the enemy, but a bullet can also produce an enemy, depending on whom that bullet strikes," mean to you?
What questions do you still have?
Write down at least five questions that you would like answered about either the Vietnam war as it relates to the novel/short stories or about Tim O'Brien's experiences in the war.
approximately 3.5 million men served in Vietnam
• The draft called more than 2 million men for military service during the Vietnam era. It has also been credited with “encouraging” many volunteers to join the armed services rather than risk being drafted into combat.
58,000 Americans lost their lives
Draft dodging
• The historical issue of draft dodging (escaping from the country to avoid the military draft) was a high pressure topic during the war.
• O’Brien takes us through this issue, including the fear of a young man facing military service and possibly death, and the feeling of patriotism and duty towards country.
Born in 1946, Minnesota
• Studied political science at college.

Spent college years railing against the Vietnam War, including attending war protests.
Received draft notice aged 22
Arrived in Vietnam in 1969. Served until 1970.
• O’Brien’s area of operations was in the Quang Ngai Province, where he later set The Things They Carried.
• Much of the material in the work has been drawn from his experiences.
He was eventually wounded and returned home with a Purple Heart, a Bronze Star for Valor, and a Combat Infantry Badge.
Full transcript