The Things They Carried

The Things They Carried Questions Ch. 18 "Good Form

▪ 1. In “Good Form,” O'Brien casts doubt on the veracity of the entire novel. Why does he do so? Does it make you more or less interested in the novel? Does it increase or decrease your understanding? What is the difference between “happening-truth” and “story-truth?”

▪ Chapter 19: “Field Trip”

▪ 1. Why does O’Brien return to the shit field?

▪ 2. What is the point of putting Kiowa’s moccasins in the ground (burying them)?

▪ 3. Explain the significance of the final sentence. Who or what is “all finished”?

Asked by
Last updated by jill d #170087
Answers 1
Add Yours

1) The difference between “story-truth” and “happening-truth", O'Brien can tell his daughter, Kathleen, with equal certainty that he has both killed someone and never killed anyone. Both are honest statements in his eyes.

1) O'Brien returns for closure, he returns as an act of respect for those he lost. After visiting some tourist sites around the country, O'Brien and Kathleen visit the "shit field" after touring other sites. Kathleen complains that the field “stinks.” O’Brien wades into the shit field and goes for a swim, grossing out his daughter who threatens to “tell mom.” The texture of the field brings memories rushing back for O’Brien. He buries a pair of Kiowa’s moccasins where his friend died and says he cannot think of the right words to say goodbye.

2) Closure..... through this act, O'Brien was able to say goodbye.