Study Guide

The Things They Carried Field Trip

By Tim O'Brien

Field Trip

  • After he writes "In the Field," O'Brien takes a ten-year-old Kathleen to Vietnam with him. They go to the field where Kiowa died.
  • The place looks smaller, and peaceful. It's twenty years after Kiowa's death.
  • Kathleen doesn't really get why they're there. She says it smells.
  • During the touristy part of their trip, Kathleen has held up well.
  • She asks why the war started. O'Brien says that some people wanted one thing, and others wanted another thing. When Kathleen asks what he wanted, he tells her that all he wanted was to stay alive.
  • She doesn't understand why he can't forget the war, why he needed to come to Vietnam, and why he was in Vietnam in the first place.
  • At the field where Kiowa died, O'Brien takes a few pictures. Kathleen is bored.
  • O'Brien pulls out a cloth bundle from the jeep and wades into the river. Ignoring Kathleen's protests, he gets to the point where Mitchell Sanders had found Kiowa's rucksack, and takes Kiowa's moccasins out of the bundle. He lets the moccasins sink down into the muck.
  • He notices an old farmer watching him. The old man raises his shovel grimly, then brings it down and begins to dig.
  • O'Brien gets out of the water, and Kathleen observes, correctly, that he stinks to high heaven. She asks him if the old man is mad at him, and he says no. All that is over.