The Things They Carried Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

Tim O'Brien
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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. Which of the following is NOT a way the men resupplied the things they carried?

2. What personality does Curt Lemon put out for others to see according to the narrator?

3. How is Henry Dobbins described by the narrator?

4. When Kiowa says "No choice, Tim. What else could you do?" what can we assume he is talking about?

5. What is Jimmy Cross's last request to Tim at the end chapter 2?

Short Essay Questions

1. Give an example of a stark contrast between how the men normally behave, and how the war changes their behavior.

2. What happens to make the platoon believe in the good luck provided by the pantyhose?

3. What puts the death pact to the test? Be specific.

4. Explain why you think Dave Jensen is so upset someone stole from him.

5. What caused Henry Dobbins to rule out a career as a minister?

6. What are Henry Dobbins' tentative plans for after the war?

7. Why does Rat Kiley write a letter to Curt Lemon's sister, and what does the letter contain?

8. Who was Elroy Berdahl and what is his significance to the narrator?

9. How does Curt Lemon recover from his personal failure at the dentist?

10. What was Martha's response to Jimmy's confession about wanting to hold her knee?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

There are many places where the concepts of right and wrong are blurred in the pages of "The Things They Carried." Ideas of draft dodging, self-inflicted wounds, disrespecting the dead, and even theft are handled with lightness. What do you think the narrator/author is trying to say about the morality of war? Chose a couple of instances in the text where conventional morality is disregarded, and explain the purpose of this device to influence the reader.

Essay Topic 2

Can you identify with Kathleen's struggle to understand the war? She asks in the chapter titled "Field Trip" why her father had to fight in the Vietnam War, and what made everyone mad at each other? Do you think wars are generally started over clear issues of disagreement? In either case, do you think that affects the ability of the war to have a resolution?

Essay Topic 3

The full stories of the men of Alpha Company in "The Things They Carried" are divided amongst the chapters. As the reader progresses, more details of events are given, and multiple points of view of identical events are written. Choose one main character from the company, and give a full accounting of the character's war experience. How can a reader identify with this character's experience, and what part of the man's story is the hardest for the reader to bear? What was the intent of the author when he divided up the character's story? Was there foreshadowing, irony, or any other literary element employed in the character's war experience?

(see the answer keys)

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