Teacher Guide

The Things They Carried Lesson Plan

About the Author

Tim O'Brien describes the Vietnam War as the most significant event in his life, and it is the subject, directly or indirectly, of most of his work. "The good writer must write beyond his moment," the author proclaimed in an interview. While his novels and memoir mostly concern the war, their thematic scope is timeless. O'Brien's most-cited influence is Joseph Conrad: both authors address questions about man's capacity for evil and humanity. O'Brien's writing also shows the influence of Ernest Hemingway, and to a lesser extent, William Faulkner. But O'Brien is best known for a blurring of fiction and non-fiction that is purely his own.

O'Brien grew up in the small town of Austin,...

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