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Vietnam War and The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien: Home

Resources compiled for Elena Cole's English 1A class reading of The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien.

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Vietnam War and The Things They Carried

This is a general guide for students interested in locating information related to the Vietnam War and The Things They Carried (Tim O'Brien) using library resources available at LPC. 

You'll find suggestions for locating reference sources, books, periodical articles, audiovisual materials, and web resources.

Please contact a reference librarian if you need further assistance. 

Possible Topics to Research

Assignment overview, as taken from Elena Cole's English 1A Paper 3 Research Report Assignment instructions. See Ms. Cole's complete assignment for more information (updated 3/20/13). 

For this assignment, you will research a topic related to the book we will be reading, The Things They Carried.  The goals of this assignment are both to teach the class about these topics so that we will be more prepared to appreciate the book and to demonstrate proficiency in working with sources using MLA documentation. You may work individually or with a small group to gather and present your research.  However, each student must write his / her paper individually.


Many of the topics listed below are very broad; you may need to narrow the topic.  Please ask Ms. Cole if you want help with this. Also, you may choose your own related topic.  If you have an interest in researching a topic related to the Vietnam War that is not listed here, please check with Ms. Cole.

Examples of topics:

  1. Factors within Vietnam that lead to war:  Ho Chi Minh (40), Bao Dai (45), Ngo Dinh Diem (45) 
  2. Geneva Accords (40) 
  3. SEATO 
  4. The Cold War  
  5. The USS Maddox in the Gulf of Tonkin (40)  
  6. The Physical and/or Cultural Geography of Vietnam (shape the report and the presentation on what you find most interesting).  Consider how the geography of Vietnam was a factor in the Vietnam War.  Areas that are mentioned in the book are Song Tra Bong (92), Batagan Pennisula (119) and My Khi / Quang Ngai Province (125), but don’t feel obligated to focus on any of these areas 
  7. Green Berets in Vietnam: the history, Vietnam, and today 
  8. The life of a soldier in the field during the Vietnam War (clothing, food, training, living conditions) 
  9. The effects of the Vietnam War on the Vietnamese people 
  10. My Lai Massacre 
  11. The Tet Offensive 
  12. The draft, protest and draft dodging during the Vietnam War 
  13. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD):  history, diagnosis and treatments 
  14. Vietnamese immigration to the United States after the Vietnam War  
  15. Tim O’Brien’s biography: life and work. 
  16. How the Vietnam War is viewed today in the US (shape this according to what in your research seems interesting).


Subject Guide

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Angela Amaya