Truth In Tim O 'Brien's The Things They Carried'

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The Dentist
"He kept replaying his own exploits, tacking on little flourishes that never happened" (82). Now, the question, "Which is more important—story-truth or happening-truth?" is asked. This above quote from Tim O 'Brein gently represents how a little thing called story-truth happens. The greatest difference between story and happening-truth is the simple fact that happening-truth reveals actual events that have occurred, whereas story-truth, which Tim O 'Brien, the author of The Things They Carried, heavily emphasizes, is subjectively reflecting a person 's thoughts and feelings when recounting a tale, and putting theme above all else. The importance of the two is where everything lies, where the author of the novel pushes for story
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Continuing, something to keep in mind when recounting stories of Lemon is the fact that each story is told by different individuals, and throughout the novel, the stories change and twist. For example, the excerpt of Lemon blowing up and splatting into a tree is told many different times in just a few short vignettes and sometimes told differently even from the same perspective. These twists are all "truth", everyone says it happened, everyone believes the story, but each person that tells the story tacks on his or her own little fact about the story; that 's when the truth gets muddied and clouded, therefore becoming…show more content…
The Dentist works its way into the happening-truth aspect of the novel in a different sort of way. It 's a smaller vignette, almost seemingly thrown into the novel without any purpose. Lemon 's character in the novel offers an unusual spin on the idea of bravery and courage within war. He obviously needs to show his capability to endure suffering and act bravely when adversity confronts him. He backs down in this section though and experiences discomfort, "He didn 't mind blood or pain—he actually enjoyed combat—but there was something about a dentist that just gave him the creeps" (83). After Lemon faints he is a complete mess. He sulks alone, isolated, just staring and cursing at the tent. Finally, embarrassment got the best of him—for the sake of his pride, and for the assurance that he hasn 't lost his manhood—he shows the truth, the true Curt Lemon, he reveals what he had the dentist do—Lemon walks into the dentist complaining of a toothache, and although the dentist could find nothing wrong he had the him rip out a perfectly good tooth; he reestablishes his personal pride in defeating his phobia and overcoming fainting. He does all of this in the name of manliness, and while doing so—introducing more
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