High School
English Language Arts

The Things They Carried: A Mix of Fiction and Nonfiction

More often than not, books are classified under a genre based on specific characteristics. However, every once in a while, a book travels from reality to fantasy, mixing creation with autobiographical elements. Tim O'Brien's account of experiences in Vietnam travels the path of imagination but is tinged with real names and places. Using these resources, students will be exposed to O’Brien’s voice, the power of memoirs, and the controversy surrounding an author’s accountability to his readers.
A Collection By Melissa Mirabello
  • 5 Collection Items
  • 5 Collection Items
  • Discussion
The Things They Carried: A Mix of Fiction and Nonfiction
  • Melissa Mirabello says:
    I like this video because my students were able to watch while a real soldier receives the equipment he needs. Throughout studying the book, we often talk about the literal and figurative things that we each carry. We also talk about how the environment, our age, our beliefs, and our state of mind and being affect how or why we carry these things.
  • Melissa Mirabello says:
    Here, O'Brien talks about getting to the truth through fiction. This is an unusual perspective. Many of my students were interested in the concept because we shared ideas in class about using lies or entrapment or deception to uncover truths. I asked them to talk about movies that created people or events or settings with the intent to expose a message. O' Brien's interview is a great supplement to this discussion.
  • Melissa Mirabello says:
    Wow - that is how I felt when I first went on this site. It literally has hundreds of ideas for teaching the book. It gives lesson plans, supplemental videos, connections to NCTE standards, and capstone project ideas. Check it out!
  • csun.edu
    csun.edu

    The Things They Carried Resources

    4 minute read
    Melissa Mirabello says:
    This is a very good resource for study questions, writing assignments, and journal entries. Teachers may add/delete/modify assignments to meet students of varying levels and abilities. Also, I love emphasizing the point that O'Briend considers the book to be a love story, not a war story. This writer comments on O'Brien's point and my students debate the idea.
  • core.ecu.edu
    core.ecu.edu

    Michele Friedlander: Engl 4300 Essay

    5 minute read
    Melissa Mirabello says:
    Why read metafiction? What is real and what is imaginary? O'Brien refuses to submit to one genre. Like breaking the fourth wall, he literally tells the reader that he has made up stories to reveal a message or create an effect. Thus, the reader becomes an accomplice -- reading what he/she knows is questionable and ambiguous. This short article is best used after the students read the book. The author includes some good quotes and his ideas foster discussion about storytelling.
BloomBoard SparkOther Cross-Curricular
BloomBoard Asks:Which is preferable: an author's true account of his/her experiences or the author's creative spin on reality?