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The Things They Carried

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					        Complete the following chart using the first chapter of The Things They Carried



SOLDIER’S NAME       WHAT SOLDIER          WHAT SOLDIER           WHAT WE CAN INFER
                      LITERALLY            FIGURATIVELY            ABOUT SOLDIER’S
                       CARRIES                CARRIES              CHARACTER FROM
                                                                  THINGS HE CARRIES



 TED LAVENDER




  JIMMY CROSS




 HENRY DOBBINS




  DAVE JENSEN




NORMAN BOWKER
        KIOWA




     MITCHELL
     SANDERS




     RAT KILEY




     LEE STRUNK




List three things you carry literally on a regular basis.

1.

2.

3.

List three things you have carried figuratively during the course of your life.

1.

2.

3.
                                             The Things They Carried

                           Figurative and Literal Language – Inferring character traits


All soldie rs literally carried: pocket knives, wrist watches, dog tags, gum, candy, cigarettes, lighters/matches,
rations, sewing kits, 2 or 3 canteens of water, can openers (all about 15 to 20 pounds), steel helmets, fatigue
jackets and trousers, jungle boots, steel centered/nylon covered flak jacket, at least on large compress, green
plastic poncho with quilted liner, photographs, guns of all varieties, grenades, plastic explosives, USO
stationary, pencils, pens, trip flares, razor blades, chewing tobacco, a variety of games, dictionaries

       By mission: machete, mosquito netting, canvas tarps, bug juice, 28 pound mine detectors

       To blow tunnels: high explosives, wiring detonators

All soldie rs figuratively carried:

“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.” (10)

“They carried their own lives.” (15)

“They carried themselves with poise, a kind of dignity.” (19)

“They carried all the emotional baggage of men who might die. (21)

“They carried shameful memories. They carried the common secret of cowardice barely restrained, the instinct
to run or freeze or hide…..They carried their reputations. They carried the soldier’s greatest fear, which was the
fear of blushing.” (21)




In The Things They Carried, O’Brien explores not only what the soldiers literally carry, but also the figurative
things that weigh them down. There are many things that ALL of the men carry. Some, though, are unique to
each soldier, and it is from these that we can infer their individual character traits.

Complete the chart on the following pages, making notes of what the indicated soldiers carry both literally and
figuratively. In the fourth column, explain what we can infer about each man’s character from the things he
carries. One has been done for you as an example.

				
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posted:10/15/2010
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