The Things They Carried Essay Prompts

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This bittersweet novel takes place if various events throughout the book, scattering the events that took place in Tim O’Brien’s thoughts.

One of the characters in the book named Jimmy Cross was the lieutenant/leader of Tim O’Brien’s group in the Vietnam War.

He didn’t want the leadership but having it lead to the turmoil in his life.

He had to deal with the struggle of his blame for Ted Lavender’s and Kiowa’s death.

Published in 1990 to vast critical acclaim and written with the help of a National Endowment for the Arts creative writing fellowship, a novel about his experiences in that war, has sold well over two million copies worldwide and was a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award.

More recently, the book was included among’s “List of 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime” and was credited as the inspiration for a National Veterans Art Museum exhibit of the same name in Chicago.

…I remember, we paused over a snapshot of Ted Lavender, and after a while Jimmy rubbed his eyes and said he’d never forgiven himself for Lavender’s death. A moment of carelessness or bad judgment or plain stupidity carried consequences that lasted forever.

It was something that would never go away, he said quietly… ” (O’Brien 169-170) Showing the resentment he had for Kiowa’s death, it shows that it lasted forever with him trying to cope with the guilt.

The book is part memoir, part fiction, and O’Brien―the original master of truthiness―wishes you luck figuring out which is which.

It’s a “marvel of storytelling which matters not only to the reader interested in Vietnam but to anyone interested in the craft of writing” ( (1990) is considered one of the finest books about the Vietnam War.


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