Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried
The Things They Carried is a collection of interconnected short stories in which O’Brien relates “true”
stories of his platoon’s experiences during the Vietnam War. For this paper, you need to read the
following two short stories from the book:
• “The Things They Carried” (shares the same title as the book)
• “On the Rainy River”
• Optional: You can pick a third short story for your paper if you choose, but the two above are
Although O’Brien did fight in the war, he purposefully blurs the line between truth and fiction. What is
the significance of this method of storytelling and how does O’Brien’s style connect to an overarching
NOTE: You can find the first story, “The Things They Carried,” in your textbook on pages 621-637. For
the other stories, you can find the whole book through a Google search. Just type in The Things They
REQUIREMENTS: When you submit the paper for grading, it should meet all the following criteria:
• The paper needs to be at least 5 full pages double spaced (not including the works cited). It is fine to
exceed 5 pages.
• Demonstrate correct use of MLA format: proper heading, 1-inch margins, 12pt Times New Roman font
• Correct in-text citations and a properly formatted Works Cited page
• The final draft should demonstrate significant revision and editing
• Proper grammar, spelling, mechanics, etc. Avoid writing in the first (I / we) and second person (you /
your). Use the third person and write in the present tense when analyzing literature.
• Your purpose is to analyze, not summarize. Your paper should demonstrate in-depth analysis of your
chosen text with a strong thesis, your own evidence to support that thesis, and quotes from your required
sources to back up your ideas.
REQUIRED SOURCES: You need to cite from all the following sources in the paper:
• The book itself that you will read
• 2 database sources (avoid reference works) – I recommend the following databases: MLA
International Bibliography, JSTOR, Academic Search Premier, Literary Sources
• 1 reliable web source – DO NOT use websites that summarize the work or its ideas, such as
Sparknotes, Cliffnotes, Wikipedia, etc. If your web source is deemed unreliable for the final paper, this
will lower your grade. NOTE: If you have difficulty finding a reliable web source, you can replace it
with another source from a database. Let me know if you do this.
• In total, you should have 4 sources on the Works Cited page. You MUST cite from ALL the sources
to receive full credit. If you have the sources on your Works Cited but have not utilized them in the
paper, you will not earn credit for having all 4.
NO PLAGARISM OR EXTENSIONS.
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