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 he do that night after he fainted in the dentist tent?

2. What word does Ted Lavender use to describe the war?

3. What makes the men begin to believe in the good luck of Henry Dobbins' object?

4. Where is Tim's first job after college?

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

Short Essay Questions

1. Why do you think Martha never married?

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

3. How did things start when Mary Anne first arrived, and how did they change?

4. What is Henry's reaction to his girlfriend dumping him?

5. How does Lee Strunk react to his injury?

6. What was the story for Mitchell Sander's moral of "Nobody listens?"

7. How were Lieutenant Cross's tears misinterpreted after the death of Ted Lavender?

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

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

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

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 2

"The Things They Carried" is very specific about the items the men carried into battle. Choose three significant objects and explain who they belong to, why it was considered important, and what the object represented for the soldier and the reader.

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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