Help with Questions to The Things They Carried: Chapters 10 – 11: Stockings, Church

Chapters 10 – 11: Stockings, Church

  1. What do these two chapters reveal about the character of Henry Dobbins?

  2. What does the narrator mean when he says of Dobbins, “In many ways, he was like America itself, big and strong,full of good intentions,” and “Like his country, too, Dobbins was drawn toward sentimentality”?

  3. What is the source of Kiowa’s discomfort when they first come upon the pagoda and then when they set up camp there temporarily?

  4. How do the monks react to the Americans’ setting up camp at the pagoda?

  5. What does the author imply in the first sentence by characterizing Henry Dobbins as a “superb soldier”?

  6. Is O’Brien’s characterization of the United States as “big and strong, full of good intentions, a roll of fat jiggling at his belly, slow of foot but always plodding along, always there when you needed him, a believer in the virtues of simplicity and directness and hard labor … drawn toward sentimentality” fair? Consider the United States of 1968 when the book is set, of 1988 when the book is being written, and of the period in which you are reading the book.

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