The Things They Carried Essay, Research Paper 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!

Vietnam War in the Book “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien

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The Realistic Setting in the O’Brien Story “The Things They Carried“

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Literary Analysis of “The Things They Carried”

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The Things They Carried

The Things They Carried is a fictional chef-d’oeuvre by Tim O’Brien, which catalogs among other things, the different things that soldiers carried to the Vietnam War. These soldiers carried emotional and physical burdens alike. Obrien notes, “They carried the emotional baggage of men who might die. Grief, terror, love, longing-these were intangibles, but the intangibles […]