One of the first questions people ask about The Things They Carried is this: Is it a novel, or a collection of short stories? The title page refers to the book simply as "a work of fiction," defying the conscientious reader's need to categorize this masterpiece. It is both: a collection of interrelated short pieces which ultimately reads with the dramatic force and tension of a novel. Yet each one of the twenty-two short pieces is written with such care, emotional content, and prosaic precision that it could stand on its own. The Things They Carried depicts the men of Alpha Company: Jimmy Cross, Henry Dobbins, Rat Kiley, Mitchell Sanders, Norman Bowker, Kiowa, and of course, the character Tim O'Brien who has survived his tour in Vietnam to become a father and writer at the age of forty-three. They battle the enemy (or maybe more the idea of the enemy), and occasionally each other. In their relationships we see their isolation and loneliness, their rage and fear. They miss their families, their girlfriends and buddies; they miss the lives they left back home. Yet they find sympathy and kindness for strangers (the old man who leads them unscathed through the mine field, the girl who grieves while she dances), and love for each other, because in Vietnam they are the only family they have. We hear the voices of the men and build images upon their dialogue. The way they tell stories about others, we hear them telling stories about themselves. With the creative verve of the greatest fiction and the intimacy of a searing autobiography, The Things They Carried is a testament to the men who risked their lives in America's most controversial war.It is also a mirror held up to the frailty of humanity. Ultimately The Things They Carried and its myriad protagonists call to order the courage, determination, and luck we all need to survive. In 1979, Tim O'Brien's Going After Cacciato -- a novel about the Vietnam War -- won the National Book Award. In this, his second work of fiction about Vietnam, O'Brien's unique artistic vision is again clearly demonstrated. Neither a novel nor a short story collection, it is an arc of fictional episodes, taking place in the childhoods of its characters, in the jungles of Vietnam and back home in America two decades later.
This did not happen is a common refrain throughout the stories in The Things They Carried. Tim O'Brien's account of the Vietnam War purposely blurs the line between fact and fiction to get closer to the truth of what soldiers actually experienced. This compelling volume explores the life of Tim O'Brien and his attempts to wrestle with the trauma and shame of war in The Things They Carried. A collection of related essays explore topics such as the moral complexity of war, writing as a path to spiritual redemption, and the novel's portrayal of gender. Contemporary perspectives on war, such as the need to help soldiers suffering from PTSD and not repeating the mistakes of Vietnam, are also presented.
The original CliffsNotes study guides offer expert commentary on major themes, plots, characters, literary devices, and historical background. The latest generation of titles in this series also feature glossaries and visual elements that complement the classic, familiar format. In CliffsNotes on The Things They Carried, you discover Tim O'Brien's powerful and innovative novel about the experiences of foot soldiers during and after the Vietnam War. Drawing largely on his own experiences during the war, the author creates a fictional protagonist who shares the author's own name, and allows this fictional "Tim O'Brien" to relate disturbing war stories as he creates an indictment against the wastefulness of war. Chapter summaries and commentaries take you through Tim O'Brien's very personal journey. Critical essays give you insight into the novel's historical context, the novel's narrative structure, and the theme of loss of innocence. Other features that help you study include Character analyses of the main characters A character map that graphically illustrates the relationships among the characters A section on the life and background of Tim O'Brien A review section that tests your knowledge A Resource Center full of books, articles, films, and Internet sites Classic literature or modern modern-day treasure — you'll understand it all with expert information and insight from CliffsNotes study guides.
Seminar paper from the year 2011 in the subject American Studies - Literature, grade: 2,7, University of Mannheim (Anglistisches Seminar), course: In Times of Crisis. Representations of War in American Literature and Film from the Civil War to Iraq, language: English, abstract: In the book "The things they carried" by Tim O'Brien the narrator says that a good war story is never true. He admits that nearly everything in the book is made up, after saying that it is true before. However, the reader learns that not until the 7th chapter, in which O'Brien, the narrator, tells the reader that everything up to now has been invented. Similarly, he leaves open if some things are true or not. Even the narrator, who is named like the author himself, is made up and has no or little similarity to the author, e.g the author O'Brien does not have a daughter, whereas the narrator O'Brien does. Reading "The things they carried," a question keeps coming up again and again: Why does he do that? Why does Tim O'Brien, the narrator, constantly tell the reader that everything is made up? It does not make any sense. The reader just gets confused. In addition to this question, I found myself wondering if there was a clear difference between truth and fiction in the book, namely if you could say this is true and this is untrue and this is certain and this is uncertain. And if yes, was it O'Brien's intention to draw this clear line, or did it just happen by accident? Of course, one cannot know everything for certain and no one can look into O'Brien's brain, but you can make assumptions based on the knowledge you have. In my paper I will focus mainly on the aspect why the principle of truth and fiction is used in The things the carried and which effects come out of that. I think this is very interesting, because, in my opinion, this is the main aspect of the whole book. Someone who reads it will not be able to stop themselves from asking questions in their head. The main process while reading
The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien (SuperSummary)
SuperSummary, a modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, offers high-quality study guides for challenging works of literature. This 62-page guide for "The Things They Carried" by Tim O'Brien includes detailed story summaries and analysis covering 22 stories, as well as several more in-depth sections of expert-written literary analysis. Featured content includes commentary on major characters, 25 important quotes, essay topics, and key themes like Self-Blame in Response to Death and Talking as a Way of Processing Trauma.
This collection of stories from Tim O'Brien paints;an often-brutal;portrait of soldiers' lives;during the Vietnam War.;Complete with an introduction from the venerable Harold Bloom, this volume of critical essays is a valuable.
Reproducible Unit includes: Introductory materials, Objectives to be learned as a result of the study, Questions with and without answers, Questions for discussion or essay, Unit test (objective and essay), Vocabulary, Terms and definitions.
This collection of seven essays, like the carefully linked collection of vignettes within Tim O'Brien's most popular book The Things They Carried, contains multiple critical and biographical angles with recurring threads of life events, themes, characters, creative techniques, and references to all of O'Brien's books. Grounded in through research, Herzog's work illustrates how O'Brien merges his life experiences with his creative production; he rarely misses an opportunity to introduce these critical life events into his writing.
The perfect companion to Tim O’Brien’s "The Things They Carried," this study guide contains a chapter by chapter analysis of the book, a summary of the plot, and a guide to major characters and themes. BookCap Study Guides do not contain text from the actual book, and are not meant to be purchased as alternatives to reading the book. We all need refreshers every now and then. Whether you are a student trying to cram for that big final, or someone just trying to understand a book more, BookCaps can help. We are a small, but growing company, and are adding titles every month.
Tim O'Brien is the one of the greatest living American authors. He was drafted for service in Vietnam as soon as he graduated from Macalester College in 1968. His Vietnam War novels The Things They Carried and Going After Cacciato are widely acknowledged as some of the best American war novels ever written. Critical Companion to Tim O'Brien is a comprehensive new resource for anyone interested in this author's life, works, and achievements. Coverage includes: A concise but thorough biography of O'Brien Entries on all O'Brien's works, including his war novels, Going After Cacciato, The Things They Carried, and In the Lake of the Woods; his memoir, If I Die in a Combat Zone, Box Me Up and Ship Me Home; and all his other published novels and short stories, including The Nuclear Age, July, July, and more Entries on related people, places, and topics, such as Green Berets, Ernest Hemingway, metafiction, and Viet Cong Appendixes, including a chronology, a bibliography of O'Brien's works, and a secondary source bibliography.
James Nagel offers the first systematic history and definition of the short-story cycle as exemplified in contemporary American fiction, bringing attention to the format's wide appeal among various ethnic groups. He examines in detail eight recent manifestations of the genre, all praised by critics while uniformly misidentified as novels. Nagel proposes that the short-story cycle, with its concentric as opposed to linear plot development possibilities, lends itself particularly well to exploring themes of ethnic assimilation, which mirror some of the major issues facing American society today.
Questioning both the popular condemnation of violent representation and the notion that violence can be constructive by empowering the identity of an integrated adult self, Wesley identifies a revealing pattern of "violent adventure" in recent fiction by American men.