The Things They Carried: Themes of the Book

This The Things They Carried: Themes of the Book lesson plan also includes:

“A true war story is never moral. It does not instruct, nor encourage virtue, nor suggest models of proper human behavior." How do you tell a true war story? Is The Things They Carried a true war story? Does it have a moral? A theme? Groups explore what O'Brien's stories have to say about personal moral codes, social pressure, and truth.

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Classroom Considerations

  • Be sensitive to effect of the stories, especially on the children of service members
  • Due to the subject mater and the events depicted in the stories, the book may not be appropriate for freshmen or sophomores
  • The ninth in a ten-lesson unit using The Things They Carried as a core text; the lessons are designed to be used in order

  • The attached zip file contains all related materials including discussion questions and background information articles

  • Some class members may object to the theme discussion based on O'Brien's comments; therefore, be prepared to offer a justification for the discussion of themes