How To Tell A War Story By Tim O Brien

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In Tim O’Brien’s “How to Tell a War Story” the message being conveyed is that war cannot accurately be captured or fully encompassed through storytelling. O’Brien highlights the complexity of expressing the realities of war, and how opinions and emotions toward war itself can be multifaceted. Additionally, he brings to light the need for interpretation and embellishment to capture the essence of war. He suggests that the most authentic war stories seem exaggerated or unbelievable because some elements had to be changed to capture the actual essence of the experience. O’Brien states that “...it’s difficult to separate what happened from what seemed to happen. What seems to happen becomes its own happening and has to be told that way.” Essentially, …show more content…

Some war stories are not always true because different individuals have different views on how the war affected them. Every war story encapsulates the individual's unique perspective, and experiences, which intertwine with the chaotic events of war itself. O’Brien uses antithesis to communicate the idea that war is a paradoxical and contradictory experience when he says “war is nasty; war is fun.” By contrasting these opposing ideas, O’Brien highlights the complex and multifaceted nature of war. This contrast serves to emphasize the confusion and conflicting emotions that soldiers may face. In a true war story, one may find contradictory details or embellishments for the mental wounds inflicted by war. Memories can become foggy, fused with pain, and grief, which makes it harder to unravel what is fact and fiction through the lens of personal perception. O’Brien mentions how one who has not experienced the war can not fully understand and empathize with the war stories. Yet, with this inexplicable fabrication of the truth, the essence of a true war story lies in not its factual accuracy, but its ability to evoke empathy, and a deeper understanding within the

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