Things They Carried By Tim O Brien: Novel Analysis

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In Tim O’Brien’s novel, The Things They Carried, he uses metafiction by writing about how he made up most of the stories. The stories of his experiences from the Vietnam war in his book, create a war-like perspective for his readers to better understand war because often, battles can be spotty in the mind and the imagination fills the gaps. O’Brien uses his book to help the reader find truth. Many things in The Things They Carried are confusing and contracting. But there are a few things the O’Brien validates for the reader. He did fight in the Vietnam War. Several different places in the book show this. He received his draft letter on June 17, 1968. He responded in not the normal way, but he ran away to the Canadian border where he spent six …show more content…

In his book, O’Brien has three separate experience with the deaths of the enemy. Two instances involved military personal but one, a civilian in Vietnam. Within in four days of fighting in Vietnam, O’Brien sees his first dead body. But death does not shock him, but the disrespect the other men show towards the dead man. They “shook the old man’s hand… one by one the other did it too. They didn’t disturb the body, they just grabbed the old man’s hand and offered a few words and moved away” (O’Brien 214). In the end, O’Brien admitted to being afraid to do the same as the other men. It “like a funeral without the sadness,” holds a disrespect for the dead (O’Brien 215). Later in the chapter, O’Brien admits that during the war, he had many encounters with death, both by allies and enemies. He had to “climbed a tree and threw down what was left of Curt Lemon… watched Kiowa sink into the muck… policed up the enemy KIAs” (O’Brien 229). These experiences could possibly have happened. But in a commentary of The Things They Carried, Don Ringnalda writes, “all of it is made up, and all of it is absolutely true” (______ 84-85). This carries the idea that “Rather than real-life events inspires stories, he surmises that stories invent reality” (________ 278). Yes, the general idea for the deaths are true, but the details are what the mind creates in the lack of knowledge of the

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