The Things They Carried Questions

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“The Things They Carried” Questions

a) The main topic of this novel is burdens. O’Brien is writing about what burdens the soldiers and he had to carry throughout war, physically and emotionally. One way I know is because of the title- “The Things They Carried.” This title almost summarizes the whole book. O’Brien frequently showed and explained the burdens that were inner conflicts of his and outer conflicts too. In the chapter “The things They Carried,” O’Brien showed an emotional burden that he carries about him loving “Martha more than his men and as a consequence” his friend Lavender got killed. O’Brien described this emotional burden as “something he would have to carry like a stone in his stomach for the rest of the war.” Also, how the soldiers “carried all the emotional baggage of men who might die. Grief, terror, love, longing-these were intangibles, but the intangibles had their own mass and specific gravity, they had tangible weight.” Another way I know that burden is the main topic of this novel is because of the way O’Brien describes the way that Jimmy Cross is physically responsible for the lives of the soldiers and how that can be such a burden. When Kiowa died, Jimmy Cross felt that “there had to be blame.” He said that “A moment of carelessness or bad judgment or plain stupidity” of his when leading the men “carried consequences that lasted forever.” This shows that he carried physical and emotional burdens. The physical burdens that he had to carry was to make the right decisions and lead well to keep the lives of the soldiers while the emotional burdens were when he had gone wrong and had to carry the burden that it was his fault that some soldiers lost their lives because of his leading. The soldiers “carried all they could bear, and then some, including a silent awe for the terrible power of the things they carried.”

b) The author of “The Things They Carry” is Tim O’Brien, whose full name is William Timothy O’Brien. Tim

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