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The Things They Carried Essay Topic Ideas & Examples

Writing The Things They Carried essay on Tim O’Brien’s collection of short stories can be a daunting task. Most students struggle to choose the proper titles, paper structure, thesis statements. Relax — we’ve prepared some tips aimed to help you to write an outstanding assignment:

  1. Pick up your topic. Carefully read the book and make highlight places that you think you can put into consideration in your paper. Brainstorm some ideas you can use. Alternatively, take a look at our The Things They Carried essay examples to get inspiration.
  2. Draft your thesis statement. Take a look at your topic and think, what issue you’re going to analyze in your paper. Should it be about symbolism, or on The Things They Carried themes, or you will write a literary analysis on the author’s writing style?
  3. Stick to the structure. Organize your essay and make sure all your ideas and arguments follow one another in a logical sequence. First of all, present the topic and The Things They Carried essay thesis in your intro. The next step is to write the body paragraphs, where you will provide your evidence, arguments, counterarguments, illustrations, and quotes to support your point of view. And lastly, summarize all your ideas presented in the paper. Restate your thesis statement but don’t repeat it.

If you still don’t know where to start, consider answering these The Things They Carried essay questions:

  • Why does “The Man I Killed” story focus on a Vietnamese character? Why are similar characters missing in other stories?
  • Think, why did O’Brien end The Things They Carried with an episode from his childhood although the masterpiece is dedicated to the Vietnam war?
  • Explore why this war stories collection doesn’t have heroes? How does the author define the term “heroism”?
  • Is there a place for women on the war? Why do characters like Mary Anne, Martha, and Kathleen are essential in the novel?
  • Investigate the book structure. Explore if the stories shift linearly and how the writing style contributes to the themes. How do the first person and third person narratives impact on readers perception?
  • Explore the shame theme. Why did Tim O’Brien decide to go to Vietnam? Is there a place for shame in soldier’s lives? Does it drive them to heroism?
  • What are the roles of women in O’Brien’s story? How does gender affect attitude to war? Analyze Mary Anne character to prove your point of view, explore her transition from an innocent girl to a killer. Check The Things They Carried essay topics for more inspiration.
  • Think about the book title. Why O’Brien decided to use it? What do the main characters have to carry with them for the rest of their lives?
  • Is this book fictional or non-fictional? Check the dedication page of the novel and explore how it is connected to the stories. Do you think that some book elements point to the actual events in the Vietnamese war?
  • Which role does death play in The Things They Carried? Provide some examples that support your point of view, whether it is something to be afraid of or a release from a dreadful life?

Now, you can use the sample questions above or choose your own and write an excellent great paper on O’Brien’s novel. Make sure to check the essay examples below to get more sources of ideas!

🏆 Best The Things They Carried Topic Ideas & Essay Examples

  1. The Things They Carried
    Given the fact that he was the one in charge of the other soldiers’ well-being, he felt he could have done something to prevent Lavender’s death.
  2. “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien Essay
    The main theme of “The Things They Carried” by O’Brien is the events that were happening during the Vietnam War. It is a compelling short story of the Vietnam War.
  3. O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried”: Literary Analysis
    Also, O’Brien seems to exaggerate in his vivid accounts of the experience the soldiers in the war. This collection of short stories is devoted to a platoon of American soldiers who fight in the Vietnam […]
  4. Literary Interpretation & Critique Paper Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried
    In reference to the statement, the author in essence questions the actuality of a “true war story,” which is also sustained by the fact that according to Tim, his story is merely a dream.”O’Brien creates […]
  5. The Realistic Setting in the O’Brien Story “The Things They Carried“
    In the end, it was clear that the things that soldiers carried were not at all ‘things.’ The soldiers had to deal with the emotional feelings of men who were exposed to the risk of […]
  6. The Things They Carried
    This paper will focus on the title of the story “The Things They Carried” and how it acts as a guide to the meaning of the story.
  7. Vietnam War in the Book “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien
    The Irony of being at war is that Peace and conflict are both inevitable; it is the way we handle either of the two that determines our opinion of life in general both in the […]
  8. “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien
    In the beginning, Jimmy is painted as an indecisive person who has to deal with the pressure of war in Vietnam and nonreciprocating love from Martha.
  9. “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien Literature Analysis
    He brings out the aspect of emotional burdens that the soldiers draw from the war. Loneliness continues to engulf in the lives of the soldiers long after the end of the war.
  10. War Impacts in “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien
    The book gives a true reflection of the effect of war on soldiers from the perspective of a soldier who directly participated in a war to defend his country.
  11. ‘The Things They Carried’ by Tim O’Brien
    Additionally, the author documents the heaviness of the objects to underscore the physical items the soldiers carried. Through repetitive documentation of the tangible objects carried by the soldiers, the author opens a leeway to allow […]

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IvyPanda. (2020, July 8). The Things They Carried Essay Topic Ideas & Examples. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/topic/the-things-they-carried-essay-examples/

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"The Things They Carried Essay Topic Ideas & Examples." IvyPanda, 8 July 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/topic/the-things-they-carried-essay-examples/.

1. IvyPanda. "The Things They Carried Essay Topic Ideas & Examples." July 8, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/topic/the-things-they-carried-essay-examples/.


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IvyPanda. "The Things They Carried Essay Topic Ideas & Examples." July 8, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/topic/the-things-they-carried-essay-examples/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "The Things They Carried Essay Topic Ideas & Examples." July 8, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/topic/the-things-they-carried-essay-examples/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'The Things They Carried Essay Topic Ideas & Examples'. 8 July.

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