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. What did Kiowa teach to Rat Kiley?

2. What purpose does the chapter 'Love' fill for the novel?

3. What is one thing Dave Jensen and Lee Strunk are NOT described as doing together?

4. What information is the letter Henry Dobbins receives in October?

5. What memory forced the men to switch from coffee to gin?

Short Essay Questions

1. Explain how the rhyme "Step out of line, hit a mine; follow the dink, you're in the pink." changed meanings?

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

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

4. Why do you think Martha never married?

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

6. What is so unbelievable about Rat Kiley's story?

7. How did Tim see Curt Lemon's personality?

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

9. Why does the narrator he is a bad fit to be drafted into the war?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

As a new book critic for a top national newspaper, you have just been assigned the novel "The Things They Carried" by Tim O'Brien. Give a full critique of the story and evaluation of the text for other potential readers. What is significant about the novel that makes it a good recommendation for readers? What detracts from the novel's appeal and makes it not a book you would recommend? Finally, is there any way the book ties into modern life and current events to make it timely?

Essay Topic 2

Chronicle the beginning, growth, and ultimate end of the one of the following relationships: Curt Lemon/Rat Kiley; Dave Jensen/Lee Strunk. Be sure to explain how major and minor events affected the relationship, and how the surviving party handled the loss of a friend.

Essay Topic 3

Most novels have critic blurbs on the cover or in media advertising for the book. Choose one critic's blurb about "The Things They Carried" and respond to the quote. Do you agree or disagree with the critic's assessment of the novel, and where is there evidence in the novel to support your point of view?

(see the answer keys)

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