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. Who is the narrator talking about in Chapter 8, The Dentist?

2. What object is Mitchell Sanders described with each time he is talking?

3. What color are Martha's eyes?

4. What company are the men in?

5. What is the name of the area the men are in?

Short Essay Questions

1. What is unique about the movements required of Alpha Company for this chapter's mission?

2. Why is the story of Rat Kiley killing the baby water buffalo a "love" story?

3. Why do you think Curt's sister gives the response she does?

4. How does Rat Kiley cope with the difficult mission of up all night, and sleeping during the day?

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

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

7. How is Norma Bowker's life before the war and after the war contrasted?

8. What would you guess happened during the war that Jimmy asked Tim to leave out of his book?

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

10. Who did you think was the victim as you read the chapter, and who did you think was the victim once you finished it? Why?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

Although the book is labeled "a work of fiction," it reads very similar to a memoir- a recollection of events and people from the author's past. Explain any indications that Tim O'Brien may not be a trustworthy narrator. Where in the text are there signs he is leaving something out, or passages where the reader should second-guess his account? Are there particular passages where a reader may be more likely to believe O'Brien's narrative? Use no less than three specific areas of text to evaluate Tim O'Brien as a reliable or unreliable narrator.

Essay Topic 2

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 3

The concept of truth is challenged repeatedly in "The Things They Carried." Men tell embellished stories, exaggerate their own lives, and even the narrator casts doubt as to the honesty of the stories contained within the novel. What are your thoughts about the truth of "The Things They Carried" and why? Are there places you feel the accounting is accurate, and other places where the story has been stretched and skewed? What textual evidence leads you to these conclusions?

(see the answer keys)

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