You DO NOT have to answer these questions in your review or to participate – I’m just posting them for people who are interested. I’ll be basing my review around these questions because I think they’re good and I hope they’ll spark some thoughtful discussion.
See you next Monday, July 26 for my thoughts on The Things They Carried, plus a Mr. Linky to share your reviews/thoughts and some discussion in the comments. I can’t wait!
1. The narrator of The Things They Carried goes by the same name as the author, but the title page notes that this is a “work of fiction.” How did this launch your reading of the book?
2. In the title story, soldiers carry things both tangible and intangible. Which were heavier? Which items spoke most powerfully to you? What do you carry around with you every day, materially and emotionally? What do soldiers carry in war today, and what would you most want to carry in war?
3. At the end of “How to Tell a True War Story,” O’Brien claims the story he’s just related “wasn’t a war story. It was a love story” (page 85). How does O’Brien distinguish between a war story and a love story?
4. The soldiers often tell jokes to relieve tension. Did you find their jokes funny? How is language important to the soldiers? What words do they use to make their experience easier to handle? What other tricks do the soldiers use to keep themselves sane?
5. “A true war story, if truly told, makes the stomach believe” (page 78). Which stories in this collection made your stomach believe? Which felt true? Is it essential to you that a story be rooted in fact? If so, what do you make of Thumbelina, Alice in Wonderland, or the stories of Edgar Allan Poe?
Any other suggestions for questions? Initial impressions if you’ve started to read the book? Either way, can’t wait to talk about the book with you!