The Things They Brought Guided Concerns 1
“The Important Things They Carried” by Tim O’brien Due Friday, October 31, 2014 @ 11:59 p. m. on Schoology Questions for Conversation and Style & & Structure or aguilar. [email protected] com. * Please type your responses. Total sentences and ideas is constantly anticipated. Questions for Conversation 1. The story begins with a paragraph about Jimmy Cross and his relationship with Martha. What does Martha represent to Cross? Why might it be substantial that Cross obsesses about whether or not she is a virgin? How does Cross’s sensations for Martha modification towards the end of the story, and how does this change point the way to ne of the themes of the story? 2. What function does Hollywood play in this story? How are the soldiers’ expectations of war and death shaped by the motion pictures? Where in the story does Hollywood dream fulfill reality? What point is O’Brien making? 3. According to the narrator, “The things they brought were mainly identified by need” (para. 2), were “partly a function of rank, partially of field specialized” (para. 6), “varied by mission” (para. 14), and “were determined to some degree by superstition” (para. 28). Which is the strongest consider identifying what they brought? Do you find any rony in the things they carried? 4. Jimmy Cross brings “the responsibility for the lives of his guys” (para. 7) and eventually can not bear the problem. What does he literally and figuratively shed in order to bear that weight following Lavender’s death? What point is O’Brien making? 5. Why do you think the medic would require “M&M’s for specifically bad wounds” (para. 9)? 6. In paragraph 29, the soldiers discover the burnt corpse of a teenage Vietcong soldier at the bottom of a ditch, and Sanders says, “there’s a definite moral here,” prior to cutting off the boy’s thumb and providing it to Bowker. Dobbins oesn’t see the ethical, and ultimately, they decide, “There it is.” What do they imply by that? Look at paragraph 75, where O’Brien talks more about the meaning of that expression. Does “The Things They Brought” have a moral? If so, what is it? 7. The soldiers react differently to Ted Lavender’s death (paras. 11, 27, 40-64). Select one soldier whose response appears especially substantial, and explain why you find it significant. 8. After studying terminally ill clients, psychologist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross explained five stages I the process of handling death: (1) denial, or “this isn’t happening”; (2) anger, or “why me? (3) bargaining, or “I ‘d do anything”; (4) anxiety, or “I quit”; and (5) approval, or “It’s fine.” Do the soldiers facing death in this story display these behaviors? Which phases do you notice? 9. In paragraph 77, the narrator states, “They carried the soldier’s biggest fear, which was the worry of blushing.” Why do you think the soldiers were more scared to blush than to pass away? 10. Paragraph 97 states, “It was really sad, [Cross] idea. The things men brought within. The important things men did or felt they needed to do.” What things do you think he will be successful? Do you think it will matter? Discuss your responses. 1. What opinion do you think O’Brien has about the soldiers, the war, and, particularly, Lieutenant Cross? Support your inferences with particular referrals to the text. Concerns on Style and Structure 1. Paragraph 3 states, “They were called legs and grunts.” Describe why this usage of synecdoche (using a part to describe the whole) is particularly appropriate not just for this story but for life in the military in basic. AP English Literature L. Aguilar 2. What evidence do you find that Jimmy Cross is a Christ figure? How does the meaning of his name and initials affect your reading of the story?
Is the virgin Martha similar to the Virgin Mary? Explain why or why not. 3. The story’s central occasion is the death of Ted Lavender, which the story returns to once again and again. Why do you think the story revisits this occasion so often? Do you think this repetition honors Lavender or trivializes his death? Explain your response. 4. The reader discovers Ted Lavender’s death in the second paragraph, but the storyteller provides few information until paragraph 27. What is the effect of the delay on the reader? What does the delay suggest about the impacts of war on the soldiers? 5. How does O’Brien identify the soldiers by the things they bring?. One technique O’Brien uses is zeugma, in which one word has more than one (often incongruous) item. For example, he composes in paragraph 12, “They carried all they could bear, and then some, including a quiet wonder for the awful power of things they carried.” Search for other examples of zeugma in the story. Do you see any pattern in how O’Brien uses zeugma? In particular, think about how O’Brien makes use of the incongruity of zeugma in order to establish one of the themes of the story. 7. Paragraph 18 consists of a series of questions. Think about all the possible meanings of the declaration “Creativity was a killer. How does it answer the concerns? 8. At the end of paragraph 39, the storyteller includes the items of the “terrific American war chest” to “the things they brought.” Discuss the political declaration this prolonged metaphor makes. 9. How many times does the word “they” appear from paragraphs 65 through 81? (Actually, count them.) Why does O’Brien use that pronoun so often at the end of the story? 10. In paragraph 99, the conditional “would” is duplicated in almost every sentence. What does this parallelism suggest? How does it contribute to the characterization of Lieutenant Cross? AP English Literature L. Aguilar