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“The Things They Carried,” “What Were They Like?” and “Facing It”

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Presentation on theme: "“The Things They Carried,” “What Were They Like?” and “Facing It”"— Presentation transcript:

1 “The Things They Carried,” “What Were They Like?” and “Facing It”
Literature of the Vietnam War

2 “The Things They Carried” p. 277
What is the significance of the long lists of “things” that each man carries? This story uses the word “carry” in both a literal and metaphorical sense, and sometimes uses it to mean both at the same time. Find some places where the use of this word is especially significant. This story uses repeated phrases and contrasting paragraph lengths as literary devices. Find one phrase that is repeated and one “one-sentence paragraph.” What is the purpose of the repetition or the shortness of the paragraph you chose?

3 “What Were They Like?” p. 667 Comment on the structure of this poem. What did you think of the “question and answer” format? There are two speakers in this poem. Who do you think they are? What tone does each speaker use? What do they remind you of? What images in this poem are especially effective or interesting to you? How do they contribute to the poem’s theme?

4 Some Pictures of the Vietnam Memorial in D.C.

5 “Facing It” p. 667 What is the significance of the title? What was your immediate reaction to reading just the title without knowing what the “it” is the poet is facing? One of the central images of this poem is the reflective surface of the Vietnam Memorial. Why is the theme of reflection, or mirroring, important in this poem? What other contrasting images do you find in this poem? What purpose do those contrasts serve?

6 Comparisons and Contrasts
How do these three works intersect with each other? Consider especially: Attitude about the war Soldiers’ experiences in “The Things They Carried” and “Facing It” It is generally accepted that “What Were They Like” is an anti-war poem, but what about the other two selections? Last class, we talked about the way that “Dulce Et Decorum Est” seeks to shock its readers by portraying the horrors of war and eliciting an emotional reaction. Compare this with what some have called the flat, unemotional tone of “The Things They Carried.” What does O’Brien accomplish by doing this?

7 In Class Writing #10: War Over the past several classes, we have read a variety of short stories and poems dealing with different facets of war and the soldier’s experience. Which one of these works had the most effect on you? (Positive or negative… you might pick a work you liked for its imagery, but you also might pick one that disturbed you or made you angry/upset.) Pick one work that you feel speaks most directly to your own sentiments about the topic of war and explain why it is particularly effective.

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