I need help finding a theme that three of these five works share.

  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

  • The Sunflower by Simon Wiesenthal

  • The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien

  • “Black-Eyed Woman” by Viet Thanh Nguyen

  • Antigone by Sophocles

Some themes I found include honor, trauma, honesty, forgiveness, war, moral responsibility, courage, perseverance, and so on.

Please say which three of these five works share a single theme, including a brief explanation/example on why.

Expert Answers

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The theme of moral responsibility can be found in Antigone by Sophocles, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon, and The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien.

In Antigone, the titular character faces conflict within her family because she insists on burying her dishonored brother,...

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The theme of moral responsibility can be found in Antigone by Sophocles, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon, and The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien.

In Antigone, the titular character faces conflict within her family because she insists on burying her dishonored brother, Polynices. She goes against the wishes of her uncle and the king, Creon, in order to follow what she believes to be the "immortal unrecorded laws of God." She attempts to elicit the help of her sister, Ismene, saying,

And now you can prove what you are:
A true sister, or a traitor to your family ...

Antigone defends her decision to Creon after he finds out and faces death for her convictions.

In The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Christopher's journey starts because he wants to find the murderer of his neighbor's dog. Because he's autistic, the world outside his home is unknown and overwhelming to him, but even so, he goes out into an overstimulating world and faces many of his fears in order to fulfill this moral responsibility.

The theme of moral responsibility comes up multiple times in The Things They Carried, but one example occurs in the short story "On the Rainy River." The narrator struggles internally over whether he should dodge the draft into the Vietnam War. He travels to the US–Canada border, where he meets a stranger who helps him through his moral dilemma. In the end, the societal obligation and moral responsibility to serve his country pushes him to remain in the US and be drafted into the war. Unlike Antigone and Christopher, he is ultimately ashamed of his decision.

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