Study Guide

The Things They Carried Style

By Tim O'Brien


  • The men find a girl dancing near a burned-down hamlet. She's dancing on her toes, smiling to herself. Azar can't figure out why she's dancing. Henry Dobbins says it doesn't matter why.
  • Her family is burned to death inside her house. When the men drag the bodies out, she keeps dancing, but puts her hands over her ears. Azar still doesn't get it.
  • When the men leave, she's still dancing. Azar decides it's some kind of weird ritual, but Henry Dobbins says the girl just likes to dance.
  • Later that night, Azar decides to mock the girl's dancing, making it suggestive and silly. (Of course he does. It's Azar.)
  • Henry Dobbins, endearing himself to the entire reading audience, grabs Azar and holds him over a well.
  • He tells him that if he doesn't want to be dumped in, he'll dance right.