Notes TTTC - Key Facts FULL TITLE The Things They Carried...

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Key Facts FULL TITLE · The Things They Carried AUTHOR · Tim O’Brien TYPE OF WORK · Collection of interconnected short stories GENRE · War stories; coming-of-age stories; memory stories LANGUAGE · English TIME AND PLACE WRITTEN · Massachusetts, late 1980s DATE OF FIRST PUBLICATION · 1990 PUBLISHER · Houghton Mifflin / Seymour Lawrence NARRATOR · Tim O’Brien POINT OF VIEW · Most of the stories are told from the first person, but on several occasions, O’Brien uses the third person as either a distancing tactic or a chance to let one of his platoon-mates, such as Mitchell Sanders or Rat Kiley, tell his story. TONE · The Things They Carried is an introspective memory story and a self-conscious examination of the methods and reasons behind storytelling. The narrator is unreliable; he speaks of the necessity of blurring truth and fiction in a true war story. TENSE · Past tense, shifting between the Vietnam War in the late 1960s and the narrator’s immediate past, twenty years after the war SETTING ( TIME ) · Late 1960s and late 1980s SETTING ( PLACE ) · Vietnam and Massachusetts PROTAGONIST · Tim O’Brien MAJOR CONFLICT · The men of the Alpha Company, especially Tim O’Brien, grapple with the effects— both immediate and long-term—of the Vietnam War. RISING ACTION · In the summer of 1968, Tim O’Brien receives a draft notice. Despite a desire to follow his convictions and flee to Canada, he feels he would be embarrassed to refuse to fulfill his patriotic duty and so concedes to fight in Vietnam. CLIMAX · During their tour of duty, the men of the Alpha Company must cope with the loss of their own men and the guilt that comes from killing and watching others die. FALLING ACTION · After he returns from war, O’Brien grapples with his memories by telling stories about Vietnam. THEMES · Physical and emotional burdens; fear of shame as motivaton; the subjection of truth to storytelling MOTIFS · Storytelling; ambiguous morality; loneliness and isolation SYMBOLS · The dead young Vietnamese soldier; Kathleen; Linda FORESHADOWING · O’Brien mentions the deaths of men such as Ted Lavender, Curt Lemon, and Kiowa before he gives detailed accounts of how and when they died in later stories. Themes Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a literary work. Physical and Emotional Burdens The “[t]hings” of the title that O’Brien’s characters carry are both literal and figurative. While they all carry heavy physical loads, they also all carry heavy emotional loads, composed of grief, terror, love, and longing. Each man’s physical burden underscores his emotional burden. Henry Dobbins, for example, carries his girlfriend’s pantyhose and, with them, the longing for love and comfort. Similarly, Jimmy Cross carries compasses and maps and, with them, the responsibility for the men in
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  • Spring '08
  • Rhoads
  • English, The Things They Carried, Love, Storytelling, Tim O'Brien, Norman Bowker, Jimmy Cross, Henry Dobbins, Rat Kiley, Kiowa, Mitchell Sanders, Kathleen, Ted Lavender, Curt Lemon, Linda, Martha, The Things They Carried, Love, On the Rainy River, Friends, How to Tell a True War Story, The Dentist, Speaking of Courage, Tim O'Brien

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Notes TTTC - Key Facts FULL TITLE The Things They Carried...

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