Literature Study GuidesThe Things They Carried

The Things They Carried | Study Guide

Tim O'Brien

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Course Hero. "The Things They Carried Study Guide." July 28, 2016. Accessed July 6, 2020.


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Tim O'Brien

Year Published



Short Stories


War Literature

Perspective and Narrator

The narrative perspective in The Things They Carried shifts from story to story. Some stories are told from a first-person perspective, with the story told by a narrator using the pronoun "I." Other stories are told from a third-person limited perspective, in which the narrator knows only one character's point of view and uses the pronouns "he" or "she." Others use a third-person omniscient point of view, in which the narrator knows the thoughts and feelings of all the characters.


Most of the stories are set in the past and related in the past tense, while the narrator's reflections on people and events are related in the present tense.

About the Title

The book's title, The Things They Carried, refers to the physical and psychological burdens that soldiers carry during and after war.


This study guide and infographic for Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried offer summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs.

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