Looking for homework help that takes the stress out of studying? Sign up for our weekly newsletter!

The Things They Carried

Tim O’Brien

Key Questions and Answers

Summary Key Questions and Answers
What does Norman Bowker need after he returns home?

After Norman Bowker returns home, he needs to find a way to talk about his war experiences and his guilt about the way Kiowa died, but he can’t. In the chapter “Speaking of Courage,” Bowker drives around and around the lake of his hometown, feeling the distance his war experiences have put between himself and those who haven’t served. Bowker never adjusts to life after the war and ends up committing suicide as a result. His story illustrates the way war changes people and the difficulty that soldiers can have readjusting to civilian life.