Help with Questions to The Things They Carried: The Things They Carried (pages 1-26)
The Things They Carried (pages 1-26)
1. When the narrator was describing what the men carried, why do you think it was
important to them to know how much each thing weighed?
2. What happens to Ted Lavender? Who blames himself for what happened? Why do you
think he blames himself?
3. Explain what SOP stands for. Explain what KIA stands for.
4. Explain what the author means by “Imagination was a killer.”
5.In the list of all the things the soldiers carried, what item was most surprising? Which
item did you find most evocative (expressive) of the war? Which items stay with you?
6. Why would the soldiers never be at a “loss for things to carry” in Vietnam?
7. The night Ted Lavender was killed, Kiowa admired Jimmy Cross. What was it that
Jimmy Cross was doing that Kiowa could not do? Why did Kiowa feel a little guilty?
8. What type of figurative language is the following quote, “they would repair the leaks
intheir eyes?” Explain the meaning of this quote.
9. To people who were not involved in the war, the men had a strange morbid way of
behaving around the dead or when someone they knew died. Explain how they behaved.
Use examples from the story.
10. Jimmy Cross went from loving Martha one day and treasuring her letters to hating her
and burning her letters the day after Ted Lavender died. What would explain this sudden
drastic change of feelings?
11. Not only does the death of Ted Lavender change Jimmy Cross’s feeling for Martha,
but also his feelings about his role as a leader. Explain how he is going to change. Use
examples from the novel.
12. The “things” of the title that O’Brien’s characters carry are both literal and figurative.
They are literally carrying many items, but these items are also symbolic to the soldiers
who are carrying them. What items do Henry Dobbins, Jimmy Cross, Ted Lavender,
Kiowa, and Norman Bowker carry that are symbolic and what does each item symbolize
to the soldier who carries it.