Essay Topic:
In the Things They Carried, the men deal with the uncertainty, fear, and death around them in sometimes surprisingly tender, irreverently funny, or horrifyingly brutal ways. Choose three characters from the stories to examine how these characters respond to their circumstances and the men around them. What conclusions can you draw about men and war through these examples? 

Due May 31, 2018 at the begining of class.

Chapter 20: “The Ghost Soldiers”
1. What does “The Ghost Soldiers” add to the book that we have almost completed? Does it provide any new insights, perspectives, or experiences about any of the characters? What do you think its function in the overall narrative might be?
2. Does your opinion of O'Brien change throughout the course of the novel? How so? How do you feel about his actions in “The Ghost Soldiers”?
3. “The Ghost Soldiers” is one of the only stories of The Things They Carried in which we don't know the ending in advance. Why might O'Brien want this story to be particularly suspenseful?
4. Explain the significance of the title of this chapter.

Chapter 21: “Night Life”
1. How did Rat Kiley get out of active duty in the Vietnam?
2. Consider the placement of this story in the novel. What is O’Brien’s purpose in including this story so late in the novel and immediately following “The Ghost Soldiers”?

Chapter 22: “The Lives of the Dead”
1. How does the opening paragraph frame the story we are about to read?
2. Why is O'Brien unable to joke around with the other soldiers? Why does the old man remind him of Linda?
3. What is the function of the Linda plot in “The Lives of the Dead”? Consider in particular what it teaches him about death, memory, storytelling.
4. What is the “moral” of the dead KIAs? Consider Mitchell Sanders' view.
5. In many ways, this book is as much about stories, or the necessity of stories, as it is about the Vietnam War. According to O’Brien, what do stories accomplish? Why does he continue to tell stories about the Vietnam War, about Linda?
6. Reread the final two pages of this book. Consider what the young Tim O’Brien learns about storytelling from his experience with Linda. How does this knowledge prepare him not only for the war, but also to become a writer? Within the parameters of this story, how would you characterize Tim O’Brien’s understanding of the purpose of fiction? How does fiction relate to life, that is, life in the journalistic or historic sense?

1. Assume for a moment, that the writer, Tim O’Brien, created a fictional main character, also called Tim O’Brien, to inhabit this novel. Why would the real Tim O’Brien do that? What would that accomplish in this novel? How would that strengthen a book about “truth”?
2. Finally, if O’Brien is trying to relate some essential details about emotional life – again as opposed to historic life – is he successful in doing that? Is he justified in tinkering with the facts to get at, what he would term, some larger, story-truth?
3. On the copyright page of the novel appears the following: “This is a work of fiction. Except for a few details regarding the author's own life, all the incidents, names, and characters are imaginary.” How does this statement affect your reading of the novel?


The Things They Carried Vocabulary

2. gangrene
7. earnest
8. gyroscope

17. frail
18. cadre
19. affluent
20. shrapnel
21. omniscient



Honors English 9

Click Here to Email Mr. McCluskey at



Daily Paragraphs

January 2018
Date Assignment / Activity Date Assignment / Activity
January 8 Happy New Year and Welcome Back! Quickwrite #1 January 22 Romeo and Juliet
January 9 Text Book Distribution January 23 Romeo and Juliet Act II, scene 2
January 10 William Shakespeare Introduction, R & J Tragic Misunderstanding Summaries January 24 Act II Vocabulary
January 11 Oprah Winfrey DP #3,Bounce Pages HW, Tragic Misunderstanding Peer Editing January 25 Romeo and Juliet Act II, scene 3
January 12 Schoology Quiz January 26 Romeo and Juliet Act II, scene 4 & 5
January 16 Martin Luther King's Speach in acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize January 29 Romeo and Juliet
January 17 Iambic Pentameter and Act I Vocabulary January 30 State of the Union Address
January 18 Romeo and Juliet January 31 State of the Union Address Discussion
January 19 Romeo and Juliet

Format of a Five Act Structure
Act 1: The Exposition
Here, the audience learns the setting (Time/Place), characters are developed, and a conflict is introduced.
Act 2: Rising Action
The action of this act leads the audience to the climax. It is common for complications to arise, or for the protagonist to encounter obstacles.
Act 3: The Climax
This is the turning point of the play. The climax is characterized by the highest amount of suspense.
Act 4: Falling Action
The opposite of Rising Action, in the Falling Action the story is coming to an end, and any unknown details or plot twists are revealed and wrapped up.
Act 5: Denouement or Resolution
This is the final outcome of the drama. Here the authors tone about his or her subject matter is revealed, and sometimes a moral or lesson is learned

February 2018
Date Assignment / Activity Date Assignment / Activity
February 1 Romeo and Juliet Act III, Scene 1 February 15 Romeo and Juliet Act V, scene 2
February 2 Romeo and Juliet Act III, Scene 2 February 16 Romeo and Juliet Act V, scene 3
February 5 The Legacy of Shakespeare February 20 Romeo and Juliet
February 6 Romeo and Juliet Act III, Scene 3 February 21 CAASSP Testing
February 7 Romeo and Juliet Act III, 4 & 5 February 22 CAASSP Testing
February 8 Romeo and Juliet Act III Questions February 23 Character List creation for Romeo and Juliet
February 9 Romeo and Juliet Act IV February 26 Romeo and Juliet (1996)
February 12 Romeo and Juliet Act IV February 27 Romeo and Juliet (1996)
February 13 Romeo and Juliet Act IV February 28 Romeo and Juliet (1996)
February 14 Romeo and Juliet Act V, scene 1  
March 2018
Date   Date Assignment / Activity
March 1 Romeo and Juliet March 14 Romeo and Juliet
March 2 Confusion on Campus March 15 Romeo and Juliet
March 5 Romeo and Juliet March 16 Essay Revisions
March 6 Safety Discussion March 19 Romeo and Juliet Essay Due!
March 7 In Defense of Romeo and Juliet: It's Not Childish, It's *About* Childishness March 20 Romeo and Juliet Final Exam Study Guide Construction
March 8 Literary Criticism March 21 Romeo and Juliet Final Exam Preparation and Discussion
March 9 Romeo and Juliet March 22 Romeo and Juliet Final Exam
March 12 Romeo and Juliet March 23 Review
March 13 Romeo and Juliet  

Romeo and Juliet Essay Prompts
1. Many people question how “true” Romeo’s love for Juliet really is because of his infatuation with Rosaline at the start of the play. Do you think Romeo truly loves Juliet? Why or why not? Use examples from the play to support your answer.
2. The Prince’s speech at the end of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet provides a poignant close to the play and naturally leads us to a question. Who should be punished for this tragedy? Who is at fault for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet? Choose the character that you think is culpable in the death of these lovers, and write an essay arguing for the guilt of that character.

A glooming peace this morning with it brings,
The sun for sorrow will not show his head.
Go forth and talk of these sad things;
Some shall be pardoned, and some punishèd:
For never was a story of more woe
Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.
- Romeo and Juliet, Act V, scene iii, 305-310
3. Who is responsible for the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet? Friar Laurence? The two lovers themselves? Their parents? Do a number of people share the blame? To what extent can these people be held responsible for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet? Analyze the actions of the character(s) you think are responsible for the lovers’ deaths. Analyze the characters of the Nurse and Friar Laurence as mentors to the young people in the play. Do these two people do the “right thing” in their relationships with Romeo and Juliet?

April 2018

Date Assignment / Activity Date Assignment / Activity
April 3 The Perfect Storm April 17 The Things They Carried Ch. 5
April 4 LMU Upwards Bound Presentation ,50th Anniversary of MLK Assassination April 18 The Things They Carried Ch. 6, Quiz Ch. 4-5
April 5 The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien April 19 Questions Ch. 3-6
April 6 The Things They Carried April 20 The Things They Carried Ch. 7
April 9 The Things They Carried Ch. 1 complete April 23 The Things They Carried. h. 8
April 10 The Things They Carried Ch.1 Discussion, Quiz April 24 The Things They Carried Ch. 9
April 11 The Things They Carried Ch. 2 Love April 25 Ch. 9 and Maryanne Bell
April 12 The Things They Carried April 26  
April 13 Jackie Robinson Biography April 27  
April 16 Jackie Robinson Biography April 30  

Last Day to turn in work for 15 Week Report Card:
Wednesday, April 25th, 2018

Chapter 3: “Spin”
1. What do we learn about Azar’s character in this story?
2. How was the war NOT like a game of checkers?
3. How did the “old poppa-san” help the platoon? What was his special skill?
4. What does Norman Bowker wish for, more than anything?
5. What does Kiowa say when his rain dance doesn’t work?
6. What did Azar do to Ted Lavender’s puppy?
7. What does Azar say about his action?

Chapter 4: “On the Rainy River”
|1. How did Tim feel about the Vietnam War while he was at college? Do his actions and language support the idea that he “hated” the Vietnam war?
2. What were Tim’s options once he received his draft notice? Who did he hold responsible for his situation? Who did he think should go to war instead of him?
3. What does Tim say is Elroy Berdhal’s role in his life? What sort of person was Elroy? How did Tim know?
4. How do the opening sentences prepare you for the story?: “This is the one story I’ve never told before. Not to anyone.” What effect do they have on the reader?
5. Why does O’Brien relate his experience as a pig declotter? How does this information contribute to the story? Why go into such specific detail?
6. At the story’s close, O’Brien almost jumps ship to Canada, but doesn’t: “I did try. It just wasn’t possible.” What has O’Brien learned about himself, and how does he return home as a changed person?
7. In this chapter, we learn the 21-year-old O'Brien's theory of courage: “Courage, I seemed to think, comes to us in finite quantities, like an inheritance, and by being frugal and stashing it away and letting it earn interest, we steadily increase our moral capital in preparation for that day when the account must be drawn down. It was a comforting theory.” What might the 43-year-old O'Brien's theory of courage be?

Chapter 5: “Enemies”
1. Who broke whose nose?
2. What was the effect of the fight on Jensen?
3. What did Jensen finally do to resolve the conflict between them?
4. What is the irony of this chapter’s title?

Chapter 6: “Friends
1. What was the pact that Dave Jensen & Lee Strunk made together?
2. What was Lee afraid of when he saw Jensen, and what did he make him promise?
3. The phrase that inspires these two chapters is normally characterized as “friends and enemies.” Why does O’Brien (the author) reverse this traditional order when sequencing these chapters?
4. Using both chapters “Enemies” and “Friends,” explain how war distorts the normal social codes.
5. What is the irony of this chapter’s title?

Chapter 7: “How to Tell a True War Story”
1. According to O'Brien, how do you tell a true war story? What does he mean when he says that true war stories are never about war? In what sense is a “true” war story actually true? That is, in O’Brien’s terms, what is the relationship between historical truth and fictional truth?
2. Why does this story begin with the line: “This is true.” How does that prepare you, as a reader, for the story? In what sense is “this” true?
3. Find a few of O’Brien’s elements of a “true war story.” (such as, “A true war story is never moral.”) Why does O’Brien believe these elements are important to a “true” war story?
4. Why is the baby water buffalo scene more disturbing than the death of one of O’Brien’s platoon members, Curt Lemon?
5. O’Brien explains that this story was “not a war story. It was a love story.” In what sense is this a “love story”? Why?

Chapter 8: “The Dentist”
1. Characterize Curt Lemon and why he behaves the way he does. How does this affect your reading of the previous chapter?
2. How did Curt Lemon’s visit to the dentist affect him?
3. What is the purpose of placing this chapter directly after “How to Tell a True War Story”?


Chapter 9: “Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong”
1. Characterize Rat Kiley. After reading the entirety of the story, why does this story seem particularly “true” to Rat? What meaning might he derive from it?
2. Characterize Mark Fossie and Mary Anne Bell.
3. Describe the changes in Mary Anne Bell from the time she arrived in Vietnam to be with her boyfriend until the end of the chapter. Be specific and record moments from the text (page numbers and descriptions) that demonstrate how she changed.
|4. Why do you think she changed? What did the change symbolize? How long did this metamorphosis take?
5. Look up the definition of the word metamorphosis. In what ways (note that this a plural noun) does this word apply to the transformation of Mary Anne?
6. Does it matter that Mary Anne is a woman? How so? What does the story tell us about the nature of the Vietnam War?
7. Does it matter what happened, in the end, to Mary Anne? Would this be a better story if we knew, precisely, what happened to her after she left camp? Or does this vague ending add to the story? Why?
8. “You’re in a place where you don’t belong.” Any parallels to today? How does our lack of understanding of a people and their place destroy us (as it does Fossie)? How does it make monsters of us?

Chapter 10: “Stockings”
1. Why does Henry Dobbins carry his girlfriend's stockings?
2. Why did Henry Dobbins continue to carry his girlfriend’s stocking even after she broke up with him?
3. Consider the comparison O’Brien makes between Dobbins and America. Does O’Brien like America? Does he respect it?

Chapter 11: “Church”
1. What was Kiowa’s reaction to setting up camp in a pagoda? Why? How does this differ with Dobbin’s conception of faith/religion/spirituality?
2. What is the meaning of the washing motion of the younger monk? Is it the same when Dobbins does it?
3. The image of the monk cleaning an M-60 is incongruous and jarring. What purpose does it serve in the story?

Chapter 12: “The Man I Killed”
1. How did the narrator react to the fact that he killed another human being? What evidence in the story leads you to this conclusion?
2. This story describes fairly intimate aspects of the dead man’s life. Where do these details come from? How can Tim O’Brien know them? What is going on here?

Chapter 13: “Ambush”
1. Tim O’Brien’s daughter, Kathleen, asks if he ever killed a man: “ ‘You keep writing these war stories,’ she said, ‘so I guess you must’ve killed somebody.’ “ Following this, O’Brien relates two possible scenarios of the death described in “The Man I Killed” to explain “This is why I keep writing war stories.” In your opinion, why does O’Brien keep writing war stories?
2. Where does truth reside in this book? What is the connection between O’Brien’s actual experiences and the events in this book? Why is O’Brien using lies to get at “the truth”?

Chapter 14: “Style”
1. What symbolism lies in the woman’s dance?
2. What does Dobbins means when he says “Dance right!”?

Chapter 15: “Speaking of Courage”
1. What narrative point of view is used in “Speaking of Courage”? What problems does Norman confront when he returns home? What seems to prevent him from dealing with them successfully?
2. Why is this story called “Speaking of Courage”? Assume the title does NOT hold any irony. In what sense does this story speak of courage?
3. Like other male characters in this novel, Norman Bowker develops an active fantasy life. Why do these men develop these fantasy roles? What do they get from telling these fantasy stories to themselves? What does this tell you about O’Brien’s understanding of the way fiction relates to real life?
4. Why is Norman unable to relate to anyone at home? More importantly, why doesn’t he even try?

Chapter 16: “Notes”
1. What is the effect of “Notes,” in which O'Brien explains the story behind “Speaking Of Courage”? Does your appreciation of the story change when you learn which parts are “true” and which are the author's invention?
2. Why does O'Brien include Norman's letter in the story?
3. What does O'Brien say about storytelling in “Notes”?
4. How does Tim O'Brien not suffer the fate of Norman Bowker? (pg. 151) What does he do after the war?

Chapter 17: “In the Field”
1. Briefly summarize the plot and style of the story. Is this story more of a “true” war story than the account in the chapter “Speaking of Courage”?
2. What point of view is used to narrate “In the Field”?
3. Why is the young man not identified in the story? What is the character’s purpose in the narrative?
4. In “In The Field,” O'Brien writes, “When a man died, there had to be blame.” What does this mandate do to the men of O'Brien's company? Are they justified in thinking themselves at fault? How do they cope with their own feelings of culpability? Consider all of the following characters:
5. What, in the end, is the significance of the shit field story (or stories)?

Chapter 18: “Good Form”
1. In “Good Form,” O'Brien casts doubt on the veracity (conformity to facts; accuracy) of the entire novel. Why does he do so? Does it make you more or less interested in the novel? Does it increase or decrease your understanding? What is the difference between “happening-truth” and “story-truth?”

Chapter 19: “Field Trip”
1. Why does O’Brien return to the field where they lost Kiowa?
2. What is the point of putting Kiowa’s moccasins in the ground/river (burying them)?
3. Explain the significance of the final sentence. Who or what is “all finished”?




Ch. 1 pg. 1 The Things They Carried
Ch. 2 pg. 26 Love
Ch. 3 pg. 30 Spin
Ch. 4 pg. 37 On the Rainy River
Ch. 5 pg. 59 Enemies
Ch. 6 pg. 62 Friends
Ch. 7 pg. 64 How to Tell a True War Story
Ch. 8 pg. 82 The Dentist
Ch. 9 pg. 85 Sweetheart of a Song Tra Bong
Ch. 10 pg. 111 Stockings
Ch. 11 pg. 113 Church
Ch. 12 pg. 118 The Man I killed
Ch. 13 pg. 125 Ambush
Ch. 14 pg. 129 Style
Ch. 15 pg. 131 Speaking of Courage
Ch. 16 pg. 149 Notes
Ch. 17 pg. 155 In the Field
Ch. 18 pg. 171 Good Form
Ch. 19 pg. 173 Field Trip
Ch. 20 pg. 180 The Ghost Soldiers
Ch. 21 pg. 208 Night Life
Ch. 22 pg. 213 The Live of the Dead


Date Assignment / Activity Date Assignment / Activity
May 1 The Things They Carried May 16  
May 2 The Things They Carried May 17 The Sights and Sounds of Vietnam
May 3 The Things They Carried May 18  
May 4 The Things They Carried May 21  
May 7 The Things They Carried May 22  
May 8 The Things They Carried May 23  
May 9 The Things They Carried May 24  
May 10 Vocabulary Test May 25  
May 11   May 29  
May 14   May 30  
May 15   May 31  

Last Day to turn in late work for the year:
Thursday, May 24th, 2018


June 2018

Date Assignment / Activity Date Assignment / Activity
June 1   June 6 Finals
June 4   June 7 Finals
June 5 Finals  


August 2017

Date Assignment / Activity Date Assignment / Activity
August 21 Music for My Mother August 28 Cornell Notes Introduction
August 22 A Quilt of a Country August 29 Cornell Notes Practice
August 23 Course Contract Review August 30 Nutrition Notes: Cornell Style
August 24 Schoology Introduction August 31 Nutrition Notes: Cornell Style
August 25 The Immigrant Contribution by John F. Kennedy  

September 2017

Date Assignment / Activity Date Assignment / Activity
September 5 The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allen Poe September 18 Two Kinds, Piano Scene
September 6 The Cask of Amontillado short film September 19 Rules of the Game by Amy Tan
September 7 The Cask of Amontillado September 20 Vocabulary Quiz, Rules of the Game Audio
September 8 The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell September 22 Where Have you Gone Billy Charming by Tim O'Brien
September 11 9/11 discussion and paragraph, Vocabulary September 25 Where Have you Gone Billy Charming, Short Film
September 12 The Most Dangerous Game September 26 The Sniper by Liam O'Flaherty
September 13 The Most Dangerous Game September 27 The Sniper Storyboards
September 14 Short Stories September 28 The Sniper Storyboards Final
September 15 Two Kinds by Amy Tan September 29 The Sniper Reader's Theatre Casting



October 2017

Date Assignment / Activity Date Assignment / Activity
October 2   October 17 Of Mice and Men
October 3   October 18 Of Mice and Men
October 4   October 19 Themes, Symbols and Motifs
October 5 Introduction to Migrant Labor in history October 20 Introduction to Essay Construction, Essay Prompts distributed
October 6 John Stienbeck introduction October 23 Thesis Statement Construction and examples
October 9 Of Mice and Men by Joihn Stienbeck October 24 Thesis Statement Workshop
October 10 Of Mice and Men October 25 Outline Construction and Peer Discussion
October 11 Of Mice and Men October 26 Body Paragraph Construction
October 12 Of Mice and Men October 27 Finding Qutes and Citing Quotes
October 13 Of Mice and Men October 30 Of Mice and Men Essay First Draft Due!
October 16 Of Mice and Men October 31 Edward Allen Poe, The Raven, Annabelle Lee

Of Mice and Men Essay Topics - distributed 10/20/17

1. Dreams: What is the importance of dreams in Of Mice and Men?  What role do they play in people’s lives?  How do people use dreams, and how to various characters’ dreams affect them?
2. Discrimination: Look at the various examples of discrimination in Of Mice and Men.  How does discrimination affect different characters?  How do characters respond to discrimination, and how does it affect their lives, and the outcome of the story?  
3. Friendship.  How does Steinbeck portray friendship in Of Mice and Men?  How does its presence or absence affect different characters, in their actions and in their relationships?  What does it require of people, and what does it offer them in return?
4. Loneliness.  Many of the characters in Of Mice and Men seem lonely.  Why are various characters lonely, and how does it affect them?

5. Power.  Think about different characters in Of Mice and Men, and the power that they have.   What different kinds of power do different characters have? Where does it come from?  What do they do with it? How does it help them, or hurt them?
6. Foreshadowing. Consider the many examples of foreshadowing in Of Mice and Men.  What important actions and plot points are foreshadowed?  How do these important events differ from the events that foreshadow them?  How does foreshadowing help us understand the important turning points in the novella?  

November 2017

Date Assignment / Activity Date Assignment / Activity
November 1 Of Mice and Men (1939) November 13 Lord of the Flies
November 2 Of Mice and Men (1939) November 14 Lord of the Flies
November 3 Of Mice and Men Final Essay Due November 15 Geffen Theatre Follow-Up Presentation
November 6 Introduction to Lord of the Flies November 16 Lord of the Flies
November 7 Geffen Representative Guest Lecturer November 17 Lord of the Flies
November 8 CAASPP Interim Exam November 27 Lord of the Flies
November 9 Geffen Playhouse Field Trip November 28 Lord of the Flies Island Project
November 10 Lord of the Flies November 29  

December 2017

Date Assignment / Activity Date Assignment / Activity
December 1 Essay preparation December 11  
December 4 First Draft due December 12  
December 5 Peer editing workshop December 13 Finals
December 7 Final Revisions December 15 Finals
December 8 Of Mice and Men Essay Due  


Thesis Statement Intro Activity