Literary Conflict in The Things They Carried

This Storyboard That activity is part of the lesson plans for The Things They Carried


Conflict in The Things They Carried

Example



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Activity Overview


Storyboarding is an excellent way to focus on types of literary conflict. Have your students choose an example of each literary conflict and depict them using the Storyboard Creator. In the storyboard, an example of each conflict should be visually represented, along with an explanation of the scene, and how it fits the particular category of conflict.


Literary Conflict in The Things They Carried

MAN vs. MAN

Lee Strunk steals Dave Jensen’s jackknife, and they get into a fistfight over it. Jensen eventually overpowers Strunk and hits him hard in the face until Strunk’s nose breaks. Three men have to pull them apart, and Strunk has to be airlifted for medical help. When he returns, Jensen is paranoid that Strunk will shoot him, so he breaks his own nose with his gun to make them even.


MAN vs. SELF

Lieutenant Jimmy Cross is broken up after Ted Lavender is shot. He feels that if he hadn’t been spending so much time thinking about his love back home, Martha, that he might have been able to prevent Lavender’s death. That night, he crouched at the bottom of his foxhole and burned Martha’s letters and pictures.


MAN vs. SOCIETY

After returning home, Norman Bowker finds it difficult to readjust to living normally again. He struggles to find meaning in his life after it had been turned upside-down in Vietnam. He can’t hold a job for more than ten weeks, he drops out of junior college, and plays basketball all day. Bowker can’t find a way to fit back into his old life, and no one seems to understand or know how to help him, even his parents.



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Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that shows at least three forms of literary conflict in The Things They Carried.


  1. Identify conflicts in The Things They Carried.
  2. Categorize each conflict as Character vs. Character, Character vs. Self, Character vs. Society, Character vs. Nature, or Character vs. Technology.
  3. Illustrate conflicts in the cells, using characters from the story.
  4. Write a short description of the conflict below the cell.
  5. Save and submit the assignment.

Literary Conflict Template

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