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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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