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. What couldn't Tim bring himself to do?

2. Who does Tim blame for his near-death experience?

3. How does Rat Kiley deal with the mission at first?

4. What was Norman Bowker's chief criticism of the first draft of "Speaking of Courage?"

5. Which is NOT a way Norman Bowker attempts to return to normal life?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

5. What happens to Tim after he kills the man in the path with a grenade?

6. What important information does the reader learn about the story in the preceding chapter?

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

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

9. Contrast the two times Tim was shot.

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

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" tackles the theme of death in numerous ways. There are accountings of anticipated deaths, surprise deaths, and even brushes with near-death. Explore how the novel handles each type of death, and the overall message the book communicates about this universal theme. Be sure to cite specific textual evidence.

Essay Topic 3

We know very little about the character named Azar, but he appears always present to antagonize the other men in the platoon. Explain how Azar is a flat or round character, his role in the novel, and if there are any other characters like him in "The Things They Carried."

(see the answer keys)

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