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 tells the war story about the listening patrol?

2. How is Henry Dobbins described by the narrator?

3. How long did Alpha Company camp at the pagoda?

4. What happens to Mary Anne Bell in the end, according to Rat Kiley?

5. "A true war story, if truly told, makes the ____________ believe."

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

4. Why was Curt Lemon afraid of the dentist?

5. How does the narrator feel about the war in Vietnam?

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

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

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

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

10. Why do the men like checkers?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

"The Things They Carried: A Work of Fiction" is described as 22 short stories tied into a novel. Select a chapter from the novel and explain how the title relates to the story, and evaluate if the chapter could stand alone as a short story. Identify its weaknesses and strengths and how it fulfills or fails to satisfy the requirements of a story: beginning, middle and end.

Essay Topic 2

Throughout the war stories in "The Things They Carried," the men carry and discuss a certain superstition for luck. Detail places in the novel where luck is given importance, and explore its role in explaining the events happening around the platoon. How do the men treat the concept of luck? How does the narrator/author wish the reader to interpret luck as it applies to the various characters?

Essay Topic 3

Explain Lieutenant Cross's responsibility or perceived responsibility in the various deaths of his men. How does he react to each one? Do his actions live up to his words and thoughts of improvement as a leader?

(see the answer keys)

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