The theme of Violence in The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien


Your literary analysis paper should carefully examine one interesting “not so obvious” aspect of your book (theme, character(s), symbolism, etc). This process should help you better appreciate and understand the novel as a whole. You may choose to write on one of the following:

  1. O’Brien says his novel is a “love story.” Discuss why this is true using characters and events from the book to prove your thesis.
  2. Choose one theme from the story. Then discuss how that the theme is explored by present using characters and events to explain it. ***Possible themes topics – violence, religion, superstition, revenge, courage, masculinity, innocence, love, guilt, etc.
  3. Discuss how the book examines PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).
  4. O’Brien uses many examples of horrific images in war, but contrasts them by writing about beautiful images as well. Discuss why O’Brien includes these polar opposites in his book.
  5. War changes people. Choose three/four characters from the novel and discuss how they are changed. Be sure to include how O’Brien describes them early on and then how they are affected over time by the events that surround or involve them.
  6. Discuss the role of women in the novel. What do they represent? How do they control, affect, change or alter the events and/or male characters in the story?

7 pages