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 does Tim credit with saving his life?

2. How does Tim join the army?

3. How does Jimmy ask Tim to portray him in the book he is writing?

4. Where is the listening patrol positioned?

5. Who tells the war story about the listening patrol?

Short Essay Questions

1. How would you describe Martha's "separate-but-together quality" her and Lieutenant Cross share? What does she send to represent this quality?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10. Why was Curt Lemon afraid of the dentist?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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?

Essay Topic 2

The story of Kiowa's death is told from at least two different point of views. Using all textual evidence and your own assumptions, what do you think really happened? What was the role of Norman Bowker, Lieutenant Cross, and Tim O'Brien? Who is the most responsible for Kiowa's death?

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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