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Phase 3 Discussion Board
Deliverable Length: 100 hundred words of “free writing” about what was carried in a specific time or place.

Reminder: Initial Discussion Board posts due by Wednesday, responses due by Sunday

Students will be expected to post their first initial discussion board posting by Wednesday of each week. Discussion posts will be graded and late submissions will be assigned a late penalty in accordance with the late penalty policy found in the syllabus. NOTE: All submission posting times are based on midnight Central Time.

Students are expected to post their responses to peers by Sunday. NOTE: All submission posting times are based on midnight Central Time.

Read “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien.

This is a piece that uses a writer’s prompt: Tim O’Brien’s descriptions of what the characters carried serves as the catalyst for discussing the experience of being in a certain time and specific placein this case, Vietnam during the war in the 1960s. It is powerful because through listing the specific things that men carried, the author is able to invoke a powerful, almost photographic vision of a different time that seems long ago. Through the metaphor of baggage, the author tells a moving story of how war can be a crucible of experience and can change a person in deep ways.

Primary Task Response: Within the Discussion Board area, write 400–600 words that respond to the following questions with your thoughts, ideas, and comments. This will be the foundation for future discussions by your classmates. Be substantive and clear, and use examples to reinforce your ideas:

For your Discussion Board, trying writing a piece with the following prompt: What do you carry with you? Write for 15 minutes about what you carry now, or about a different time when you were carrying some other things, modeled after the style of O’Brien. Be very specific in description. In the “The Things They Carried,” the very concrete and specific descriptions conveyed deeper meaning and made the experience of the soldiers very palpable and real. You are not expected to be a professional writer, so in the spirit of learning and experimentation, try to put yourself in the place of Tim O’Brien. Then, comment on what you have written and how writing about specifics can reveal more abstract ideas or feelings. No judgment of self or performance is allowed. This is an exercise in writing as much as thinking aloud to yourself. 

Post 1 paragraph of your writing and your reflection. Respond to 2 other students’ posts. The idea is not to produce some perfect piece of literature, but rather to experience what it is like to write about details and specifics you observe and make this real to the reader. Please do not criticize each other’s pieces, but comment on what the experience teaches you about the writer’s craft and process. A finished product is not expected. This is about looking at the process of writing, so that as a reader, you will be more aware of how the author is working to bring a place or time to life by specific detail. You may wish to comment on Tim O’Brien’s skill at evoking a time and place and using description to express the tough decisions faced by people in war.