From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Things They Carried

The Things They Carried


by Tim O'Brien

Rat Kiley Timeline and Summary

  • Kiowa teaches Rat a rain dance.
  • Rat's best friend Curt Lemon dies, and he writes Lemon's sister a letter explaining how much he loved him. The sister never writes back.
  • After Lemon dies, Rat shoots up a baby buffalo.
  • Rat tells a story about another medic he knew who shipped his girlfriend, Mary Anne Bell, over from the States. Rat was there, he saw it. The girlfriend went spooky and joined the Greenies, then ran off and lived in the jungle.
  • Rat takes care of O'Brien when he gets shot.
  • Rat is wounded and sent to Japan.
  • During a tense period, when the platoon is moving only at nights, Rat loses it. First he goes quiet, then he won't shut up about bugs, then he admits that he's scared, then he starts talking about body parts and bugs and the war, and then he shoots himself in the toe and is sent to Japan, away from the war.