Tim O 'Brien's The Things They Carried'

1997 Words8 Pages
Stories Can Only be as Real as One Makes Them Every story can be seen as true or untrue. It all depends on how someone chooses to look at it. Tim O’Brien’s novel The Things They Carried is chocked full of stories that can be seen a true or false. He never directly says which stories are real and which are not. 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…show more content…
He base most of his novel on stories of his days in a platoon during the Vietnam war. Smack dab in the middle of the novel he throws the reader a major curveball. “I’m forty-three years old, true, and I’m a writer now, and a long time ago I walked through the Quang Ngai Province as a foot soldier . Almost everything else is invented.” (O’Brien, 171) He reveals to the reader that some of the stories that are included in The Things They Carried are actually false. But does the fact that an author made up some of the details in a novel solely decide if a novel is “good” or not? And based on the above quote does it mean that all of the stories that The Things They Carried contain are therefore false? O’Brien never straight up tells the reader what stories are true and what stories are false. Instead he leaves it up to the reader to…show more content…
He died while he and Riley were goofing off at a trail junction. “It’s hard to tell what happened next. They were just goofing There was a noise, I suppose, which must have been the detonator, so I glanced behind me and watched Lemon step from the shade into bright sunlight. His face was suddenly brown and shining. A handsome kid, really. Sharp gray eyes, lean and narrow-waisted, and when he died it was almost beautiful, the way the sunlight came around him and lifted him up and sucked him high full of moss and vines and white blossoms.” (67) Curt’s death is believable. There’s no doubt about that. To many readers this story appears to be a retelling of a very real event. But after O’Brien’s future reveal that a large majority of The Thing They Carried was invented, many readers may take a second look at many of O’Brien’s stories such as this one. Many reader many sit and think “is this story even remotely true?”. I believe that it’s up to the reader of the novel to decide. Everyone sees things differently. A story that might seem completely true to one person may seem completely bogus to someone else. Others may think that not a word of The Thing They Carried is true based on O’Brien’s claim that he made up a large part of the
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