The Things They Carried Test | Final 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. How many years has it been since the war for the author, at the time of writing the novel?

2. Who makes the decision to NOT alert Lt. Cross about finding the body?

3. What activity does Norman Bowker do to avoid his troubles?

4. Who does Tim take with him on his trip to Vietnam?

5. What almost killed Tim?

Short Essay Questions

1. How does Norman Bowker ultimately cope with returning home?

2. How is Norma Bowker's life before the war and after the war contrasted?

3. What is the purpose of the visit to the battlefield where Kiowa was killed?

4. Do you agree with Kiowa or Tim's point of view about the kill? Why?

5. Explain Tim's dilemma about how he killed a man on the trail outside My Khe.

6. How does Tim react to Bobby Jorgenson's failings as a medic?

7. How did the men recover Kiowa's body?

8. What power do stories have for people dealing with death?

9. What was Tim's first experience with death?

10. How does Rat Kiley cope with the difficult mission of up all night, and sleeping during the day?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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?

Essay Topic 2

"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 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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