Please wait while we process your payment
If you don't see it, please check your spam folder. Sometimes it can end up there.
Don’t have an account?
Create Your Account
Sign up for your FREE 7-day trial
Already have an account? Log in
Choose Your Plan
$4.99/month + tax
$24.99/year + tax
Save over 50% with a SparkNotes PLUS Annual Plan!
You'll be billed after your free trial ends.
7-Day Free Trial
Renews October 3, 2022
September 26, 2022
Discounts (applied to next billing)
This is not a valid promo code.
(one code per order)
SparkNotes Plus subscription is $4.99/month or $24.99/year as selected above. The free trial period is the first 7 days of your subscription. TO CANCEL YOUR SUBSCRIPTION AND AVOID BEING CHARGED, YOU MUST CANCEL BEFORE THE END OF THE FREE TRIAL PERIOD. You may cancel your subscription on your Subscription and Billing page or contact Customer Support at email@example.com. Your subscription will continue automatically once the free trial period is over. Free trial is available to new customers only.
For the next 7 days, you'll have access to awesome PLUS stuff like AP English test prep, No Fear Shakespeare translations and audio, a note-taking tool, personalized dashboard, & much more!
Thanks for creating a SparkNotes account! Continue to start your free trial.
Your PLUS subscription has expired
The Things They Carried is written in an informal, colloquial style, reflecting the way American soldiers in Vietnam spoke. O’Brien frequently makes use of the soldiers’ slang, such as the term “SOP” (which means “standard operating procedure”). The use of acronyms and military jargon adds to the authenticity of the novel. The writing is specific and vivid, such as the long list of things that the men carried in the title story: “Among the necessities or near-necessities were P-38 can openers, pocket knives, heat tabs…” O’Brien also varies his style throughout the book. Some of the stories are told in the slightly more remote third person, as in the title story, while other stories are told in first person voice, such as in “How to Tell a True War Story,” in which O’Brien writes, “I had a buddy in Vietnam.” The direct address in those stories particularly creates a sense of intimacy for readers.