Mark Brazaitis is the director of the Creative Writing Program at West Virginia University.
In CliffsNotes on The Things They Carried, you discover Tim O'Brien's powerful and innovative novel about the experiences of foot soldiers during and after the Vietnam War. Drawing largely on his own experiences during the war, the author creates a fictional protagonist who shares the author's own name, and allows this fictional "Tim O'Brien" to relate disturbing war stories as he creates an indictment against the wastefulness of war.
Chapter summaries and commentaries take you through Tim O'Brien's very personal journey. Critical essays give you insight into the novel's historical context, the novel's narrative structure, and the theme of loss of innocence. Other features that help you study includeCharacter analyses of the main charactersA character map that graphically illustrates the relationships among the charactersA section on the life and background of Tim O'BrienA review section that tests your knowledgeA Resource Center full of books, articles, films, and Internet sites
Classic literature or modern-day treasure—you'll understand it all with expert information and insight from CliffsNotes study guides.
“An entrancing attempt to catch what falls between [literary criticism and autobiography]: the irreducibly personal, messy, even embarrassing ways reading and living bleed into each other, which neither literary criticism nor autobiography ever quite acknowledges.” —The New York Times“Stories, both my own and those I’ve taken to heart, make up whoever it is that I’ve become,” Peter Orner writes in this collection of essays about reading, writing, and living. Orner reads—and writes—everywhere he finds himself: a hospital cafeteria, a coffee shop in Albania, or a crowded bus in Haiti. The result is “a book of unlearned meditations that stumbles into memoir.” Among the many writers Orner addresses are Isaac Babel and Zora Neale Hurston, both of whom told their truths and were silenced; Franz Kafka, who professed loneliness but craved connection; Robert Walser, who spent the last twenty-three years of his life in a Swiss insane asylum, “working” at being crazy; and Juan Rulfo, who practiced the difficult art of silence. Virginia Woolf, Eudora Welty, Yasunari Kawabata, Saul Bellow, Mavis Gallant, John Edgar Wideman, William Trevor, and Václav Havel make appearances, as well as the poet Herbert Morris—about whom almost nothing is known.