The Things They Carried Archive

Writing Trauma: Notes of Transcendence

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Writers have the privilege—and power—of putting words to experience: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Only A Novelist Will Be Able To Make Sense of This Election

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Years from now, the uncertainty and accompanying anxiety many of us have about the current political season may be displaced by different, more complicated emotions. Such perspective is cold comfort to the millions who are fearful of a possible Donald Trump presidency. For four years we have known that

Try to Become Him

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One thing I’ve learned teaching in the Cornell Prison Education Program is that a person in prison, more often than not, is someone whose whole life has felt like a long imprisonment. People don’t become prisoners at random. First came the violences of neglect or poverty. Or the glimpses of

What Is It About the Literature of War?

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Up until that short story workshop I took my junior year of college, my TBR pile was made up of a bizarre mix of Stephen King, Barbara Kingsolver, and Bill Bryson. Then my professor passed around photocopied packets containing stories by Lorrie Moore, Grace Paley, and Tim O’Brien, and I realized there was more

Tim O’Brien: A Classic Looks at Twenty

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First Lieutenant Jimmy Cross carried letters from a girl named Martha, a junior at Mount Sebastian College in New Jersey. They were not love letters, but Lieutenant Cross was hoping, so he kept them folded in plastic at the bottom of his rucksack. In the late afternoon, after a