The Things They Carried, by Tim OíBrien

Study Questions for Part 3 - Amy Reynolds, Engl. 098
"The Man I Killed" story cycle

"The Dentist"

  1. How did Curt Lemonís visit to the dentist affect him?

"The Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong"

  1. What was Ratís reputation among the men of Alpha Company, when it came to telling stories?
  2. What does Rat insist about his story in this chapter?
  3. What was the military discipline like at the outpost?
  4. Who were the Greenies and what were they like?
  5. Who did Mark Fossie bring to the outpost?
  6. What was their plan together, since elementary school?
  7. What does Rat say are the similarities between Mary Ann and all of them?.
  8. What did Mary Anne begin to do when casualties came in?
  9. Where had Mary Anne been the first time she stayed out all night?
  10. How did she change as a result of her conversation with Fossie the next morning?
  11. How did she respond to Fossieís arrangements to send her home?
  12. When and under what circumstances did Rat see her next?
  13. On pg. 106, what is Mitchell Sandersí attitude about Ratís way of telling a story?
  14. What does Rat have to say about the soldiers attitude toward women?
  15. What did the Rat, Fossie, and Eddie find when they entered the Greenies hootch?
  16. What kind of jewelry was Mary Anne wearing?
  17. What does Mary Anne tell Fossie about his presence in Vietnam?
  18. What does Mary Anne say she wants to wants to do with Vietnam?
  19. At the bottom of pg. 113, what does Rat say about "the girls back home"?
  20. What is the metaphor that Rat uses to explain Mary Anneís experience with Vietnam?


  1. What did Dobbins do with his pantyhose when his girlfriend dumped him?


  1. What did the monks at the temple help Henry Dobbins do?
  2. How does Kiowa feel about the soldiers camping at the temple?

"The Man I Killed"

  1. What is paragraph one of the story about?
  2. What did the young man hope some day to become?
  3. What is Kiowa doing throughout the story?
  4. What is Tim doing?
  5. What did the boy fear about his performance in battle?
  6. How did the other boys at school treat him?
  7. What does Timís examination of the boyís body tell us about Timís feelings about his death?
  8. What was the boy carrying?
  9. What does Kiowa keep insisting Tim do?
  10. How does Tim respond?


  1. Why did Tim throw the grenade at the young man?
  2. What could Tim have done instead?
  3. What is the significance of the storyís final image?


  1. What was the young girl doing when the company came to her village?
  2. What did Azar do that night?
  3. How did Henry Dobbins respond?

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