Our English class

Decisions English

This website is an opportunity for you to further explore events surrounding “The Things They Carried”, by Tim O’Brien. You will find links that will both enrich and inform but also assess your knowledge. Have fun and add your ongoing comments where asked.

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Young O’Brien in Vietnam

Tim O’Brien in Vietnam (courtesy of the Harry Ransom Center, the University of Texas at Austin)

War is Hell

Symbolic photo from the Vietnam War (Associated Press)

Use a thoughtshot for your comment.  In a thoughtshot you freeze the action, zoom in on a character’s thoughts, and write them in detail.

Tet Offensive

The Battle for Hue, Tet 1968 was the attack on the old Imperial capital of Hue by forces of the North Vietnamese Army and South Vietnamese insurgents of the National Liberation Front during the Tet Offensive. The Communist forces hoped a popular uprising by the “oppressed” people in South Vietnam would lead to a general uprising and overthrow of the “puppet” regime supported by the United States. The city of Hue was the only city to be completely occupied by the communist forces during the massive offensive, and was the scene of violent and close-quarter fighting that waged for nearly a month, from January 31st to February 25th, 1968. The scenes such as the one you see above were a daily reality for soldiers, most of whom were only 18 or 19 years old.  How do you think that affected them while they were there and then after the war?

Waterboarding

Senator John McCain, who was tortured as a POW during the Vietnam War, says water boarding is definitely a form of torture. Human rights groups agree unanimously that “simulated drowning,” causing the prisoner to believe he is about to die, is undoubtedly a form of psychological torture. How would you explain the word torture to someone who had never heard the word?  Have you ever felt tortured, how?

History Lessons

Please go to Flypmedia and watch the videos specifically about Vietnam.  Feel free to comment on what you have viewed.  You will be asked some questions about what you have seen in a separate post, so stay tuned.

That row across the Rainy River was a game changer.  What decision was made that changed the course of O’Brien’s life?  Post your comment below.

This is a  cabin at the Tip Top Lodge  on the border of Canada and the USA.  This  cabin similar to the one they stayed in when they went to the Tip Top Lodge  in The Things They Carried .  Major decisions are made early on.  What were some decisions that were made at the Tip Top Lodge?  Please post your comments below.

Women and children crouch in a muddy canal as they take cover from intense Viet Cong fire at Bao Trai, about 20 miles west of Saigon, Vietnam, in this Jan. 1, 1966 file photo. The war ended on April 30, 1975, with the fall of Saigon, now known as Ho Chi Minh City, to communist troops from the north. (Horst Faas/AP Photo)  What do you think must have been going through their minds as they faced the possibility of death?  Post your thoughts below.

American infantrymen crowd into a mud-filled bomb crater and look up at tall jungle trees seeking out Viet Cong snipers firing at them during a battle in Phuoc Vinh, north-Northeast of Saigon in Vietnam’s War Zone D, in this June 15, 1967 file photo. The war ended on April 30, 1975, with the fall of Saigon, now known as Ho Chi Minh City, to communist troops from the north. (Henri Huet/AP Photo)

Based on what we have read so far what does this image mean to you?  How do you think these men were feeling. Post your comments below.

Quang Duc, a Buddhist monk, burns himself to death on a Saigon street to protest alleged persecution of Buddhists by the South Vietnamese government, in this June 11, 1963 file photo. The war ended on April 30, 1975, with the fall of Saigon, now known as Ho Chi Minh City, to communist troops from the north. (Malcolm Browne/AP Photo)

Passion fuels many things. This monk died for his beliefs.  What beliefs would you give something up for?  Post your replies below by responding to the post.

South Vietnamese Gen. Nguyen Ngoc Loan, left, chief of the national police, fires his pistol into the head of suspected Viet Cong officer Nguyen Van Lem, also known as Bay Lop, on a Saigon street, early in the Tet Offensive, in this Feb. 1, 1968 file photo. The war ended on April 30, 1975, with the fall of Saigon, now known as Ho Chi Minh City, to communist troops from the north. (Eddie Adams/AP Photo)

The shock of this famous photograph was felt around the world and made people stop and take notice.  Please respond with your thoughts and feelings in a post below.

Link to Voicethread and watch the short videos.  Using your rubric as a guide, upload at least four text responses and one voice response.