Topic: Understanding America’s experience in the Vietnam War through personal experiences as created by Tim O’Brien in his fictionalized personal experience and observation in the book of THE THINGS THAT THEY CARRIED, incorporating the text book narrative as well.
Length: 600wds minimum.
Essay format, a coherently constructed paper; not in the Q&A format.
Incorporating both textbook narrative and analysis of the war AND O’Brien’s (and other characters’ in the book) personal experiences of the war.
Reflective of the course materials, meaning that your paper has to reflect that you have studied and gained a good comprehension of the course materials from the assigned readings and lectures.
Aspects/questions to consider:
(The following questions are to help you with some ideas about aspects to address in your paper; they are not an outline for your paper. You can choose to address some of them; you do not have to include each and all of them. You may have other aspects/questions of your own to address.)
The purpose and the goal of the war:
What was the proclaimed purpose and goal of the war? How did the Vietnam War fit in America’s Cold War strategy and policy?
Was the goal/purpose of war borne out by the personal experiences of the soldiers in O’Brien’s book? Did the troops on the ground understand and support the goal of the war?
Soldiers’ experience in Vietnam:
What did they carry? What were some of the things did they carry, and why? Why do you think O’Brien chooses this as the title of this book? How would Garcia’s experience add to your understanding of the war? [George M. Garcia, Vietnam Veteran, Oral Interview (1969/2012)
(Links to an external site.)
The progress and development of the war in Vietnam:
Is there any historical moment in the war that is reflected in O’Brien’s depiction of the war? Explain.
National narrative and personal experience:
How different or similar are the two descriptions of America’s experience in the war? The two descriptions refer to the general narrative of history in the textbook on the one hand, and personal war experiences in O’Brien’s book on the other?
Lessons from history:
What lessons has the country learned from the war? What lessons should the country draw from the war? What lessons do you think O’Brien and his friends have drawn?
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