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 we
O’Brien repeatedly describes what he thought the man’s life was like, he bases it off himself. He was scared of the war and hoped the similar to the man, but in the end Tim faced his fear and he is ashamed of it. It hit him hard because it was like imagining himself be killed. Killing someone can bring an immense shock, O’Brien wrote, “‘Think it over,’ Kiowa said. Then later he said, ‘Tim, it's a war.
Literary analysis America’s war heroes all have the same stories to tell but different tales. Prescribed with the same coloring page to fill in, and use their methods and colors to bring the image to life. This is the writing style and tactic used by Tim O’Brien in his novel, “The Things They Carried”. Steven Kaplan’s short story criticism, The Undying Certainty of the Narrator in Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, provides the audience with an understanding of O’Brien’s techniques used to share “true war” stories of the Vietnam War. Kaplan explains the multitude of stories shared in each of the individual characters, narration and concepts derived from their personal experiences while serving active combat duty during the Vietnam War,
“Vietnam was lost in the living rooms of America, not on the battlefields of Vietnam”- Marshall Mcluhan. In the novel The Things They Carried, written by Tim O’Brien uses his personal experiences to describe his time spent in Vietnam throughout the war. The reason the novel is written in a nonlinear format because he is writing the novel as he recalls his experiences. However, the main purpose of him writing the novel was to help people understand what the soldiers had went through and the truth about the Vietnam War is known to the public. Tim O’Brien uses themes such as storytelling/memory and morality to demonstrate the impact of the experiences the soldiers endured and how that has affected their daily lives.
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
The Undying Certainty of the Narrator in Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, written by Steven Kaplan, questions if there is any sense or meaning derived from what happened during the Vietnam War and how that could be conveyed to those who have not experienced the war. Literary critic, Philip Beider’s, writes “most of the time in Vietnam, there are some things that seemed just too terrible and strange to be true and others that were just too terrible and true to be strange.”(American Literature and the Experience of Vietnam 4). Kaplan believes that by destroying the fine line between fact and fiction, fiction can often sound truer being, presented as meaningful. Kaplan’s statement is correct because the language of fiction is the most accurate for conveying what is attempted to be explained. O’Brien uses these what-ifs and maybes as if they were facts, and then calls these facts into questions.
Didn't even realize he was acting. In the aftermath he can understand the morality.” ( litcharts.com). O’Brien wrote a story called, “The Man I Killed” and O’Brien talks about that event in My Khe and he goes into great detail about how the situation went and what he was thinking at the moment he pulled the pin of that grenade and threw
Moreover, it seems that O'Brien tries to address our society's obsession with cold, unbiased facts by introducing the universal notion that a soldier's purpose is to die for their country. O'Brien continues to touch on finding the truth of a soldier's life in the next paragraph, where he utilizes an optimistic, almost joyful tone as he hones in on the "beauty" of Lemon's death. Oddly yet intentionally, O'Brien once again manipulates the emotions of the audience, this time through the use of irony. He takes what should normally be a somber moment and instead manages to emphasize how Lemon was a "handsome kid" with "sharp gray eyes" whose face was "brown and shining" when the bright sunlight he stepped into "lifted him up and sucked him into a tree full of moss and vines and white blossoms." Not only does he intentionally use words like "bright", "sunlight," and "shining" to elicit a hopeful, optimistic response from the audience, but he also seems to paint a mental picture of Lemon seemingly ascending into
Throughout of the novel O’Brien shows that stories can only be as real as one makes them. It doesn’t matter if the stories didn’t actually occur. The stories can still be seen as real depending on how someone looks at them. In the beginning of The Things They Carried the idea that everyone carries something with them for different reasons is explored. As the novel continues O’Brien tells stories from his soldier days during the Vietnam
In Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried the narrator, Tim O’Brien, often blurs the lines between reality and fiction. As a young soldier, O’Brien recalls the Vietnam war including the sounds, sights, and his emotions, while 20 years later he again shares his feelings and experiences of the same event. This same event, however, is told differently in order to help him cope with the emotional pain of war. The details become blurry as the pain is too great to endure. According to O’Brien, a true war story often can’t be told and that factual truth is often blurred by the emotional truth as told by the storyteller.