No one returns from war the same person who went. War opens an unbridgeable gap between soldiers and civilians. There’s no truth in war—just each soldier’s experience. “You can tell a true war story by its absolute and uncompromising allegiance to obscenity and evil” (from “How to Tell a True War Story,” in O’Brien’s story collection “The Things They Carried”). Irony in modern American war literature takes many forms, and all risk the overfamiliarity that transforms style into cliché.
O’Brien writes, “You can tell a true war story by its absolute and uncompromising allegiance to obscenity and evil” (76). Regardless of the changes within the narrations, the fact remains, that these soldiers are in the middle of battle and the emotion that follows differ for each person. As Kaplan states in his writing, “the most important thing is to be able to recognize and accept that events have no fixed and final meaning and that the only meaning that events can have is one that emerges momentarily and then shifts and changes each time that the events come alive as they are remembered or portrayed”
In the short story, “The Man I Killed,” O’Brien focuses on this to show that everyone fighting in a war has a story. He spends the story describing the man he killed and searching for justification of his actions. He carries around guilt with him because of it, and his fellow soldiers try to help him justify and come to terms with his action by saying things like, “You want to trade places with him? Turn it all upside down= you want that? I mean, be honest,” (126) and “Tim, it’s a war.
The things they carried is a novel by Tim O’Brien. About the Vietnam war. About the lives of people going there. It’s a collection of war stories. Some of them true, some of the untrue and that’s the main topic that’ll be discussed in this paper. What is a true war story? How can it be told? this is a quite complicated question with a quite complex response(s). a true war story is something beyond generalizing, that could be true and untrue at a time. There is not only one type of truth, but happening and seeming truths, and not the man could know the real truth in a war story.
He fought a war in Vietnam that he knew nothing about, all he knew was that, “Certain blood was being shed for uncertain reasons” (38). He realized that he put his life on the line for a war that is surrounded in controversy and questions. Through reading The Things They Carried, it was easy to feel connected to the characters; to feel their sorrow, confusion, and pain. O’Briens ability to make his readers feel as though they are actually there in the war zones with him is a unique ability that not every author possess.
Through centuries of great wars and battles, history has displayed brave men and women who have fought for their countries. These audacious people have helped propel countries for the greater good. However, the weight and responsibility, of the war, takes a heavy toll on soldiers that is often overlooked. Tim O’Brien, author of the novel The Things They Carried, records his stories, and the stories of his fellow soldiers during the war. However, three of these soldiers are affected in an outlandish way.
Hidden somewhere within the blurred lines of fiction and reality, lies a great war story trapped in the mind of a veteran. On a day to day basis, most are not willing to murder someone, but in the Vietnam War, America’s youth population was forced to after being pulled in by the draft. Author Tim O’Brien expertly blends the lines between fiction, reality, and their effects on psychological viewpoints in the series of short stories embedded within his novel, The Things They Carried. He forces the reader to rethink the purpose of storytelling and breaks down not only what it means to be human, but how mortality and experience influence the way we see our world. In general, he attempts to question why we choose to tell the stories in the way
In The Field, a young soldier decides to show Kiowa a picture of his girlfriend. The young boy switched on his flashlight, and seconds later the field exploded around them. “Like murderer, the boy thought. The flashlight made it happen. Dumb and dangerous.
Although he mentions that you can’t tell a true war story, he still points out the story of the troops who heard unreal sounds in the mountain, and he also points out that Mitchell Sanders states this story. The irony happens because if the story is untellable, Tim O’Brien still told it. The truth conveyed by this irony is that the story is probably exaggerated as it’s passed to O’Brien, and it is not what it actually happened. Contrast and Juxtaposition “The truths are contradictory”(80).
In the chapter “The Man I Killed” O’Brien struggles to understand the implications of his actions, as well as to cope with his guilt. Through the constant repetition and the vivid description O’Brien attempts to humanize the soldier, and assign meaning and purpose to the life of the man who suffered such an idle death. O’Brien writes a meaningful chapter
When soldiers go back home, if they make it home, they’re still haunted by regret, guilt, and depression. People experience it in their own ways and cope with it differently. War changes people. It’ll takes away someone's humanity and replaces it with holes, instability, and mental defects. Whether you’ve lost a significant other, lost your will to live, or lost your future, civilians and soldiers both indulge in losses when involved in
War and its affinities have various emotional effects on different individuals, whether facing adversity within the war or when experiencing the psychological aftermath. Some people cave under the pressure when put in a situation where there is minimal hope or optimism. Two characters that experience
The True Weight of War “The Things They Carried,” by Tim O’Brien, brings to light the psychological impact of what soldiers go through during times of war. We learn that the effects of traumatic events weigh heavier on the minds of men than all of the provisions and equipment they shouldered. Wartime truly tests the human body and and mind, to the point where some men return home completely destroyed. Some soldiers have been driven to the point of mentally altering reality in order to survive day to day. An indefinite number of men became numb to the deaths of their comrades, and yet secretly desired to die and bring a conclusion to their misery.
“How to Tell a True War Story” and “Ambush” are stories that both explore on topics: truth, the real definition of a true war story, and the role of truth. O 'Brien starts off “How to Tell a True War Story” with “This is true.” Starting this story with such a bold sentence not only makes it seem more true, but to some extent, it acts as a comfort statement to the narrator’s own doubts, as if there were unspeakable uncertainties and lies of the narrator. The title of this story also comes into play, with a meta-fictional name “How to Tell a True War Story”, as if it were a guide, a manual, having a true war story tell the readers how to tell a true war story. However ironically, towards the middle of the story, us as
For many years the only injury soldiers were believed to have could be seen with the naked eye; however, the real injuries are within the soldier’s mind. Most soldiers and victims of war suffer from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), their own minds become danger zones as they recall horrific experiences when they dream, think, or merely close their eyes. The emotional pain stays with the victim years after the war is over. The physical pain that a soldier or victim endures can be healed with time and care, the emotional trauma they deal with stays with them for a lifetime. The psychological pain that the victims endure usually goes unnoticed until after the traumatic event.