The Things They Carried Lesson Plan

The Things They Brought was released in 1990, years after the war that is its topic. But the book began with the short story that provides the collection its name: “The Things They Carried,” was released in Esquire Magazine a number of years prior to. This story won the National Publication Award in 1987 and was consisted of in the 1987 edition of Best American Short Stories, modified by John Updike. It grew into a collection of 22 narratives that can all be read together as interrelated chapters on shared experiences and around the same characters.

The work has been talked about as both fiction and non-fiction, and the author himself called it a work of meta-fiction. The stories in the collection recount the horrors of the Vietnam War as observed by Tim O’Brien, a fictional, first-person storyteller. However there is also an omniscient, third-person speaker who writes in a really comprehensive style about the experiences of the men in Alpha company, relating soldiers’ thoughts and ideas, and realities about the soldiers’ lives prior to and after the war.

The original story, and very first chapter, has actually been consisted of in different anthologies since its initial publication, and O’Brien has actually composed short stories for other publications, consisting of Atlantic Regular monthly, Harper’s, and The New Yorker. Other stories from The Things They Brought were published in Massachusetts Review, Granta, Gentleman’s Quarterly and Playboy Publication.

Key Aspects of The Important Things They Brought


The storyteller’s tone is consistently individual and intimate. He sways from cold and determining to passionate and emotional according to the subject matter, but he composes as if he is speaking straight to his reader in a casual yet severe manner.


Much of the text is embeded in Vietnam’s Quang Ngai province, a place of confusion concerning the mission soldiers exist to meet and a jungle that often feels like an antagonistic entity. It was a location and time without clearness or definition. Contrasted with this setting is small-town America, where O’Brien and some of the other characters grew up. The logic of these towns made good sense to the characters, and this makes the unreliability of the jungle even harder to accept. We are shockingly thrust in and out of Vietnam from these simpler places in America throughout the book, in some cases in one story, and this serves to enhance the method the characters themselves feel trying to manage these two various truths inside themselves.

Point of view

The book begins with a third-person point of view relating the lives of the guys in Alpha Company. After that, the book is for the a lot of part informed in the first individual, from the point of view of the character Tim O’Brien. There is periodic third-person narrative, but it does not roaming far from Tim O’Brien himself.

Character advancement

The main character and narrator is Tim O’Brien. We are not introduced to him officially up until the second story, at which point we understand he was likewise the storyteller of the previous story. Though the stories jump backward and forward in time, a linear timeline becomes clearer along the way, assisting readers to end up being more knowledgeable about O’Brien’s advancement from civilian to soldier. In the end, nevertheless, we discover that he lost his innocence long back as a kid.

The other soldiers in Alpha Business also go through remarkable arcs of advancement towards a loss of innocence.



Stories are not simply a method for soldiers to pass the time. As the last story’s title alludes, they help keep the dead alive. Stories become an effective survival tool for both the storyteller and the characters.

Fact and Trust

What holds true? Tim O’Brien concerns, checks out, contradicts, and breaks broad open the reader’s expectations of truth, mirroring his own experience of the function of truth in warfare. The style is also substantiated in the structure and style of the text, which plays with our rely on writers.

Bravery v. Cowardice

This dichotomy is often turned upside down in the stories. What seems brave and brave can end up being an act of cowardice. What appears afraid takes nerve. Whether soldiers are hurting themselves to get sent out house, or pondering escaping, the circumstances in the story get the reader to question what it indicates to be brave.


The very name of the book speaks to this style. The soldiers are bring a lot more than equipment. They are carrying the luggage of a truth they can no longer trust. They are carrying the worry of death and the worry of blushing. The really capability to believe weighs on their lives.

Imagination and Escape

The problems of the past, present, and future are simply too much for the soldiers to deal with. They do drugs, play games, and dream about other locations and times. Many of all, they tell stories. Often, checking out these stories, it is tough to know what is genuine and what is envisioned.

The Loss of Innocence

This is a typical war story style, and it is as powerful in this text as any. Right from the very first page, we are made starkly knowledgeable about the lives of innocence that came prior to the harrowing experiences that transform the soldiers. The last story supplies a shocking declaration about the topic of innocence– something the narrator lost long before he showed up in Vietnam.



The narrator’s daughter is a listener that is removed from the stories, and can not rather understand the perspective of the storyteller, though she signs up to do so. She resembles the reader, who shares an understanding of the occasions, however fails to experience them with the emotions the writer carries in informing them.


Linda is a symbol of the contradictions and extremes in life: she is O’Brien’s puppy love and his first experience with death.


For the soldiers, drugs represent a mode of escape. Showing the need for drugs is the way that the author manifests the soldiers’ desperation.

Vietnam and America

Vietnam, at some level, represents confusion and instability for the soldiers, with its unidentified landscape, towns, battles, and monotony. America thus concerns represent stability, but it is a stability rejected to the majority of the soldiers once they return house: some part of them will be forever in the jungles and fields.


Any sense of a strong climax in the events as they happened in genuine time is made complex by the nature of the text: a collection of narratives, interrelated, and which refer back and forth to one another. Overall, The Important Things They Brought does not develop towards one overarching, unbiased climax.


The initial story appears to begin with a formal story structure. But with the shift in perspective, time, and plot in the 2nd story, and the dives between previous and present in no special order as the book goes on, we start to quit on the concept of a linear plot, despite the fact that we acquire a sense of linearity as we check out. O’Brien echos this chaotic structure himself in assessing the styles of the story as he narrates, describing that like war itself, true war stories have their own reasoning.

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