Truth In The Things They Carried By Tim O Brien

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What’s more powerful, the truth or a lie? How are we able to tell the difference? It’s all from a person’s perspective and the way we choose to spin the story. There is no way to identify the real situation unless you were there to witness the event. Throughout the novel, The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien there is a discussion over whether he is using fiction or nonfiction. O’Brien used metafiction as a way to challenge the reader's mind to unravel a deeper connection between truth and reality and all the stories hidden in between. O’Brien begins to write about his journey through the Vietnam War and the unthinkable experiences. He tells war stories that we can only think are true but are never quite sure. O’Brien writes: “in any war …show more content…

You most likely will maintain a superstition about whether the event actually happened or if it is a matter of hearsay. O’ Brien expresses: “in many cases a true war story cannot be believed. If you believe it, be skeptical. It’s a question of credibility” (71). In this quote, it is almost as if you tend to believe the story O’Brien illustrates you are a gullible reader. You believe anything that seems reasonable. In my opinion I think that O'Brien's goal was, he wanted the novel to be a story of questionability but he also wanted the story to sound reasonable at the same time. Consequently, O’Brien states: “In any true war story, if there’s moral at all, it’s like the thread that makes the cloth. You can’t tease it out. You can’t extract the meaning without unraveling the deeper meaning. And in the end, really, there’s nothing much to say about a true war story, except maybe ‘Oh’” (77). We can never assume the truth in a war story. The only way to discover the truth hidden behind the lies is to pull away the many layers or in this case the stories that make up a war …show more content…

When we are faced with a traumatic event, we choose to remember only the boring details because we choose not to relive the event every day. This is called happening-truth. As stated by O’Brien: “here is happening-truth. I was once a soldier. There were many bodies, real bodies with real faces, but I was young then and I was afraid to look. And now, twenty years later, I’m left with faceless responsibility and faceless grief” (180). O’Brien tends to use happening-truth throughout The Things They Carried as a way to express what he was going through and felt but without all the detail. Although O’Brien used another type of truth known as story-truth. O’Brien writes: “here is the story-truth. He was a slim, dead, almost dainty young man of about twenty. He lay in the center of red clay trail near the village of My Khe. His jaw was in his throat. His one eye was shut, the other eye was a star-shaped hole. I killed him” (180). The story-truth is used throughout the novel as a way for the reader to picture was Tim O’Brien was going through at the time. As he pictured Kiowa sinking into the sewage field and grasping her boot, you could picture what was happening and what O’Brien was feeling in that very moment. Perhaps in the end, a true war story is never about an actual

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