Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried”

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.

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