Situation: Dissecting Tim O’Brien’s short story while finding symbolism. Students just read the portion of the story that described soldiers “humping” the things in their rucksacks, i.e. C rations, ammunition, love letters and pictures.
Student: I feel sorry for the soldiers who fought in Vietnam.
Teacher: I agree. They went through a lot.
Student: Yeah, I mean, to get desperate enough to hump a photograph. That’s just strange.