The Things They Carried: Figurative Language

This The Things They Carried: Figurative Language lesson plan also includes:

". . .facts were formed by sensation, not the other way around, and when you listened to one of his (Rat Kiley's) stories, you'd find yourself performing rapid calculations in your head, subtracting superlatives, figuring the square root of an absolute and then multiplying by maybe." The figurative language in "Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong" is the focus of an activity that asks groups to find examples of how O'Brien uses figurative language to appeal to the reader's senses.

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Instructional Ideas

  • The reality of American life during this period has gotten lost in counterculture myths. Ask groups to research the validity of the depiction of Mary Anne's background, the history of the Green Berets, and the history of the Vietnam conflict
  • Provide class members with the lyrics of "The Ballad of the Green Berets" and "I Feel Like I'm Fixing to Die" and ask them to closely examine the imagery in each song, imagine the tone and instruments they would use to record each one, and then play the audio or videos of these two songs

  • The class session ends with individuals crafting a short essay on Mary Anne's transformation and what the changes say about the nature of the Vietnam War
  • The fifth in a ten-lesson unit using The Things They Carried as the core text
  • All required materials are contained in an attached zip file

  • Carefully consider the background of your class members and how they may be affected by issues raised by the story