The Things They Carried In
English 11, Spring 2015 The Things They Carried
For the in-class essay, TWO of the following four prompts will be selected at
random. You will have the class period (90 minutes) to compose a 4-5 paragraph
literary analysis essay. The essay must follow standard essay expectations,
including (but not limited to):
Funnel intro paragraph with the book title, author, basic background, and
Appropriate topic sentences for each body paragraph
Quotes that are introduced, integrated, and properly cited
Thorough analysis of each quote that explains the content of the quote
and how it supports the thesis
Concluding statements for each body paragraph
Conclusion that summarizes the main points of the essay and ends with a
1. Explore the theme of change in The Things They Carried. Choose
two characters to analyze and discuss how/why one changes for
the better and one changes for the worse.
2. Tim O’Brien has stated that the novel is a “love story” rather than a
war story. How does the novel demonstrate this? What forms of
love are depicted in the novel?
3. What is the role of guilt/shame in the novel? Does it propel the
soldiers to heroism or stupidity?
4. Explore the theme of ambiguity in The Things They Carried. Discuss
examples of ambiguity in the stories and analyze how it impacts the