In The Things They Carried how is the setting important and how is it used to develop the story?

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mizzwillie | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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The setting in the novel The Things They Carried is very important because the stories are set in the Vietnam War and O'Brien blurs the line between made up stories and true stories.  The setting is a part of every story whether it is the "shit field" where Kiowa dies or the daily life of digging a foxhole and trying to stay alive.  The setting develops the story as almost every story needs the setting as the background to what is happening. This Vietnam War is set in the jungle and rice paddies, and each soldier must deal with the fear of what cannot be seen.  They can sometimes hear the enemy, but almost never see through the fog and jungle to actually see the enemy who shoots at them.  The inability to see much beyond their own group adds to the tension each soldier must endure. 


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