Name __________________________________________ Date ____ Test Date ____ Review for The Things They Carried Test In preparation for your test on the novel, review the following: Characters: Tim O’Brien Henry Dobbins Kiowa Azar—cruel, sadistic Mitchell Sanders Narrator Ted Lavender Mary Anne Soldier Tim killed Themes: Courage/lacking courage (Can you think of specific examples?) Purpose of storytelling Story Truth/Happening Truth Purpose of writing/telling stories “The Things They Carried” (consider the literal meaning and the larger metaphor of carrying) What the men carried: Kiowa—bible Jimmy Cross—picture of Martha Ted Lavender—Tranquilizers Henry Dobbins—pantyhose around his neck as a good luck charm to stay safe Norman Bowker carried the emotional baggage of wanting war medals Literally---carrying supplies Emotionally—carried fear, principles Chapters to review: Chapter “On the Rainy River” Characters Plot Details and their Actions Narrator— Tim must make a decision after receiving Tim his draft notice—should he go to Canada or stay in the US and go to war. He stays at a lodge with Elroy Berdahl, an older man, who pays him for help around the lodge. Elroy feeds him, brings him to the boarder, allows Tim to make his own decision whether to go to war or not. Elroy doesn’t judge Tim. In the end, Tim DOES NOT go to Canada. He decides to go to war rather than be criticized. Significance/Theme(s) Courage as a Theme “I was a coward, I went to war.” Tim—being courageous would have been to act on his convictions. He is shamed into going into war because he doesn’t want to feel the criticism of the people back home. Acting on societal pressure “How to Tell a True War Story” Mitchell Sanders Men go into the jungle and hear things. Because they have to remain silent, their minds get carried away. This story can only be told by using exaggeration—it makes the psychological tension of being at war real. Men hear violins, a cocktail party, chamber orchestras, a rock band. In order to make the noise stop they throw bombs. When they come back to camp, they refuse to tell the Colonel why they bombed and used so much fire power. Instead of answering him, they just walked away without saying anything. SOME things you can’t explain—you just have to be there! Exaggeration—it makes the psychological tension of being at war real. War can’t be explained Experience can’t be explained “Sweetheart of the Song of Tra Bong” Mary Anne “The Man I Killed” Tim “Good Form” Tim narrates Mark Fossie brings his girlfriend Mary Anne to war. She starts off being feminine, light hearted—wears culottes. Then she cuts her hair, assists in operations, goes on ambush with the Green Berets. She changes into a savage. Her eyes change blue to green. She wears a human tongue necklace, she had a den with a decayed head of a leopard, stacks of bones, a poster that says “Assemble your own Gook! Free Sample Kit” next to strips of yellow-brown skin. She becomes more primitive, part of the jungle. Effects of war --it changes not only the young men, but Mary Anne, she is capable of the duties of war --it is just as disturbing to see Mary Anne become a cold blooded killer as it is the young male soldiers --everyone has the potential for evil/to kill as a member of the Green Berets --gender stereotypes of women (looking pretty/treated as a sexual object vs. becoming savage and brutal, assisting with medical help, handling a gun, capabilities of women in war) Tim killed a 19-year-old Vietnamese soldier Guilt -Vietnamese soldier felt forced into going Shock to war (much like Tim, he didn’t want to Trauma feel shame from his family, didn’t really -Tim can’t stop staring want to go to war). at the dead VC soldier --VC soldier had a girlfriend, wanted to be a math teacher Kiowa asks Tim to speak, but he can’t. He is too shocked. Story Truth—Tim couldn’t possibly stare at the body for 45 minutes. In the story he can accept responsibility for the death. He has been haunted by it for 20 years. 43, claims everything in his story is invented—he admits to being a foot soldier, and 20 years later is still filled with guilt -watched a man die on a trail near the village of My Khe—felt guilty, but even that story is made up, Tim’s daughter Kathleen asks if he ever killed anyone—he can say yes or no Story Truth Happening Truth Story Truth = can make things present and help people take responsibility Happening Truth = just telling what happened, but not necessarily taking responsibility. Chapter “Ghost Soldiers” Characters Plot Details and their Actions Tim gets shot 2x Narrator Bobby Jorgensen gets to Tim too late and (consider doesn’t treat him for shock. how he Tim wants revenge against Bobby. He changes) creates a way to scare Bobby by making noises in the brush. Azar helps him. (We know Azar takes pleasure in evil activities.) Significance/Theme(s) *Change in Tim—we see him become more evil due to the effects of being at war. Revenge *Change in Tim—no longer the sweet boy from Minnesota Tim and Jorgensen make up at the end. Tim jokes that they should kill Azar. “The Lives of the Dead” List 2 Main Events: Stories help to bring back lives. The stories show the value of life—even “The Man I Killed” He believes stories can save people. Stories save the soul. connect this to “How to Tell a True War Story” the story needs to get to the emotional truth, gut feeling, emotional connection Examine the metaphor at the end: Metaphor: “I’m not dead. But when I am, it’s like…I don’t know, I guess it’s like being inside a book that nobody’s reading” (232). Being alive is being remembered. This is an appropriate metaphor for this book. It brings back the stories of Kiowa, Ted Lavender, Curt Lemon, Linda, VC soldiers, Norman Bowker. “The Things They Carried” Martha Jimmy Cross --Ted Lavender dies --soldiers trash the villiage out of anger --Cross burns photos of Martha since he accepts blame for Lavender’s death (he was distracted with Martha and looking at her photo) Repetition --Cross carries a picture of Martha --Ted Lavender got shot in the head – emphasizes the impact of the death on the soldiers and Jimmy Cross What the men carried: Kiowa—bible Cross—pictures of Martha Ted Lavender— Tranquilizers Dobbins—pantyhose Literally---carrying supplies Emotionally—carried fear, principles These soldiers carry (or hump) their homes on their backs. Consider the literal things they carry and the emotional things they carry. Each man also carries a green plastic poncho (for rain, ground covering, or to cover dead bodies), grenades, ammunition, large compress bandages, items under SOP (Standard Operating Procedures), flak jacket and ghosts. Henry Dobbins—big man, carries extra food (What’s important to him? Food!), carries a large amount of ammunition and weaponry. He wears his girlfriends’ pantyhose around his neck for comfort, insecticide Dave Jensen—clean man, carries dental floss, socks, vitamins high in carotene (will help night eyesight), takes precaution against trench foot , empty sandbags, rabbit’s foot. Ted Lavender—scared, carries tranquilizers, drugs (dope) perhaps to cope with his fear. When he is shot dead, he falls down immediately—it isn’t like in the movies. (He is killed coming back from urinating.) He is covered with the green poncho. “He was dead weight” (7). Soldiers smoked his dope after his death and burned down the village of Than Khe. Norman Bowker—carried a diary, a boy’s thumb Mitchell Sanders—carried condoms, the 26 pound radio (he’s the RTO—Radio Transmission Officer), brass knuckles Lee Strunk—carried a slingshot, tanning lotion Lieutenant Cross—in love with Martha, stares at her pictures, is preoccupied with her –he recalls going to see the movie “Bonnie and Clyde” with her and when he touches her knee. This is his attempt at bravery/being courageous. Daydreaming of her provides an escape from the harshness of war. The fact that he didn’t continue to make a move on her makes him feel like a coward. He carries the responsibility of the lives of his men. He also carries heavy weaponry, a compass, map, code books, binoculars, a pebble from Martha, and her picture. He feels guilty when Ted Lavender dies—he was daydreaming. Rat Kiley—carried M&Ms and brandy, comic books, morphine, plasma and malaria tablets, surgical tape (things medics need) Kiowa—carries his grandfather’s hatchet, New Testament (devout Baptist), pair of moccasins, carries his grandmother’s distrust of the white man –he is Native American List of weapons (pages 5- 7)—catalogues the weapons used, the nature of war, the amount of weapons and ammunition used to save oneself or kill another “They carried all they could bear, and then some, including a silent awe for the terrible power of the things they carried” (7). “They all carried ghosts” (9). “Imagination was a killer” (10). Imagination—you can daydream or worry about being killed, if rats have rabies. “The things they carried were determined to some extent by superstition”: Cross, his pebble; Dave Jensen a rabbit’s foot; Norman Bowker carried a thumb cut from a VC corpse of a 15/16 year old boy; Boy was at the bottom of an irrigation ditch, burned, with flies in his mouth, carrying rice and ammunition—another senseless death Soldiers also carry stationary, pins, flares, razors, tobacco, candles, nail clippers, canvas bags of beer, etc. They carried diseases, lice, the land of Vietnam itself, fungus, decay, gravity. (See pages 13-14) “They shared the weight of memory” (14). “They carried their own lives. The pressures were enormous” (15). “…they would never be a loss for things to carry” (15). Cross feels responsible for Lavender’s death---he feels that he “would have to carry [the death] like a stone in his stomach for the rest of the war” (16).