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. Where is the platoon at?

2. What does Lee Strunk confess to Tim O'Brien in the morning?

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

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

5. What does Rat Kiley do first to the baby water buffalo?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why do you think Martha never married?

2. How does Lieutenant Cross resolve his responsibility in Ted Lavender's death?

3. Give a description of boredom as used in the novel.

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

5. How does Lee Strunk react to his injury?

6. Why did the men have to see the dentist?

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

8. Give examples of how the men dealt with death.

9. Why do Jimmy Cross and Tim O'Brien stop drinking coffee, and what do they switch to?

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

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

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?

(see the answer keys)

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