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The Things They Carried

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by

Matthew Jackson

on 22 May 2014

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Transcript of The Things They Carried

The Things They Carried
Themes

Tim O'Brien
Real name is William Timothy O'Brien
Born in Austin, Minnesota, 1946
At age 7 he moved to Worthington, Minnesota
Served in the Vietnam War in 1969-1970
Included in the 3rd platoon
Part of the My Lai Massacre*
Graduated from Harvard University
Book information
Takes place in Vietnam in the 1970's
Plot Diagram
Character Info
Is told mainly in first person, but will occasionally change to third
Story Summary
Character Info. Cont.
This is a series of war stories that are all combined, centered around the platoon
The story is normally told in first person but by multiple people
Received Chicago Tribute Heartland prize, Pulitzer prize finalist, and many others
Sold over 2 million coppies and was published
in 1909
Has a daughter named Kathleen
• Summer 1968, Tim O'Brien receives a draft notice
• O'Brien considers moving to Canada to skip the draft. Soon after, a local Canadian man convinces him to enter the war and he did
• O'Brien carries physical items such as M16 with extra ammunition, a multi-purpose two pound poncho, and a lot of food rations. But the hardest thing to carry, are the emotions from friendships, war, and death
• O'Brien uses real war stories but adds a twist to make it more interesting
• Ted Lavendar adopted a puppy then Azar killed it and everyone acted like it was no big deal. The rest of the world wouldn’t allow it
• The village of My Khe, Tim O'Brien saw this Vietnamese soldier running from the fog and O'Brien took out a grenade and threw it right at him. O'Brien had thought to himself what his life would have been like if he were still alive today. This scene still haunts him
• The climax was the ambush attack on Jimmy Cross' platoon by mortars. Lieutenant Cross had set up a base camp in sewage fields. Out of nowhere, rounds of mortars fell from the sky. Kiowa, the religious one, especially screamed and began to sink into the murky water. Norman Bowker, who noticed Kiowa, called Jimmy over to help save Kiowa. Saving him was impossible because he was sinking way too fast and they had to save themselves
• O'Brien wrote the book because no person should have to go through this. If this sounds intense in the book, it would have been a lot worse in real life. Giving this insight on what the war was like to the public eye was what O'Brien wanted.

Video Clip
Language Use
Tim O'Brien
Author of the story
Lt. Jimmy Cross
Narrator and Protagonist
Head of Alpha Pack
Vietnam War Background
Viewed as a Christ figure
August 1964 - May, 1975
America fought in the war to help stop the spread of communism
In love with Martha
Not very confident
After the American government found out that the war wasn't going in our favor they lied to the American people saying that the war was going well. The Americans found out that the gov.t lied and it was a big distrust between the two. After years of fighting the U.S. finally decided to withdrawal troops from Vietnam.
Kiowa
Close friends with Jimmy Cross, Husband, and Father
Soldier of Jimmy's Platoon
Very religious, carries a bible everywhere he goes
Gets shot twice while in Vietnam
Shot and killed while in Vietnam
Indian, Middle-aged, Friendly
Martha
Jimmy's elementary school crush
After catching up with Jimmy at a college reunion a few years before the war began, she told him never to talk to her again
Norman Bowker
Soldier in Jimmy's Platoon
Very caring towards the platoon
Tried to pull Kiowa out of the muck and was unable to
Felt guilty for Kiowa's death, hanged himself after the
war
Mitchell Sanders
Likable soldier
Great friend to others
Linda
Tim's elementary school crush
Strong justice
Died from a brain tumor in the 5th grade
Very loyal to his platoon
Azar
Immature
Aggressive
Little respect to human or animal life
Horrible behavior
Cruel
Rat Kiley
Platoon's medic
Mentally unstable
Shoots himself in the foot to get out of the Vietnam War
Bobby Jorgensen

New medic of platoon that replaces Rat Kiley
Almost let O'Brien die from shock
O'Brien hates him and gets a prank pulled on him
Tim O'Brien wrote this story in a serious and emotional tone. This topic is close to him because he was in the Vietnam war and some of the events really happened to him.
Quote:" When he came to, there was a funny new look on his face, almost sheepish, as if he'd been caught committing some terrible crime."(84)
Figure of Speech: Simile
How it's used: to show how shocked/scared he was

Today's Relevance: Love can help people get through the rough times of their life

Love
Importance: Helps the soldiers in the Vietnam War stay sane
Evidence: Jimmy Cross and Martha; Henry Dobbins with the stockings

Today's Relevance: People often blame themselves if they think they could have done something to help

Guilt
Importance: The war stories O'Brien were based off of guilt
Evidence: Norman Bowker blamed himself for Kiowas death
Determination

Importance: Shows how much the soldiers care for each other
Evidence: Platoon looks for Kiowas body in the waste field all day
Today's Relevance: Even when people are gone, their loved ones still care to do them favors.
Full transcript