Monday, March 16, 2009

The Things They Carried: Web Questions

***Answer the Following Questions on a Separate Sheet***

1.Read the epigraph at the beginning of the text of The Things They Carried.

a. What is an epigraph? How do writers use them?

b. This epigraph is a citation from John Ransom's Andersonville Diary. Go to the website below and answer the following questions: Who was he? What was Andersonville? What is the book about?

c. Given what you discover about the “Andersonville Diary” epigraph and what it introduces, what do you think is the purpose of it introducing The Things They Carried?

2."On the Rainy River" questions the American war in Vietnam, referring to a series of names and places. Look them up.

a. What was the USS Maddox?
b. Where is the Gulf of Tonkin and what is its relationship to the Vietnamese War?
c. Who was Ho Chi Minh?
d. What was SEATO? What were the Geneva Accords?
e. What was the Cold War and why are dominoes mentioned?

3. Browse the photos on the following websites. Warning: some photos are graphic. Choose any three photos and write: 1) a description of the photo, 2) the significance of the imagery in the photo, 3) the emotion or tone of the photo

a. Vietnam War Pix: On this site, browse the categories near the top. (Note: the “Hippies” category sometimes freezes).

b. Vietnam Gear (Photos arranged by category).

4.At the end of "On the Rainy River," the narrator makes a kind of confession: "The day was cloudy. I passed through towns with familiar names, through the pine forests and down to the prairie, and then to Vietnam, where I was a soldier, and then home again. I survived, but it's not a happy ending. I was a coward. I went to the war" (p. 61). What does this mean?

5. Carefully read the following quote by author Tim O’Brien. Then write your personal reaction to the quote. For example, do you agree with O’Brien, or disagree? Explain your response.

"Good movies -- and good novels, too -- do not depend upon 'accurate portrayals.' Accuracy is irrelevant. Is the Mona Lisa an 'accurate' representation of the actual human model for the painting? Who knows? Who cares? It's a great piece of art. It moves us. It makes us wonder, makes us gape; finally makes us look inward at ourselves."

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