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. According to the narrator, what is a characteristic of a "true war story?"

2. After his first episode with the dentist, what did Curt Lemon do?

3. How many monks are there to help the men with camp?

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

5. What is Jimmy Cross's last request to Tim at the end chapter 2?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. 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?

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

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

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

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

7. How does Lee Strunk react to his injury?

8. How are the terms of the death pact ultimately carried out?

9. Why was Curt Lemon afraid of the dentist?

10. How does Curt Lemon recover from his personal failure at the dentist?

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

"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

The full stories of the men of Alpha Company in "The Things They Carried" are divided amongst the chapters. As the reader progresses, more details of events are given, and multiple points of view of identical events are written. Choose one main character from the company, and give a full accounting of the character's war experience. How can a reader identify with this character's experience, and what part of the man's story is the hardest for the reader to bear? What was the intent of the author when he divided up the character's story? Was there foreshadowing, irony, or any other literary element employed in the character's war experience?

(see the answer keys)

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