Analysis Of Tim O 'Brien'sThe Things They Carried'

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Laurence Stern wrote, “ No body, but he who has felt it, can conceive what a plaguing thing it is to have a man’s mind torn asunder by two projects of equal strength, both obstinately pulling in a contrary direction at the same time.” By interpreting this quote, Stern says that no one can understand what it feels like for a man to have his mind torn apart by two equivalent forces that pull him apart in opposite directions inside. There was much underlying meaning and connection from Laurence Stern’s quote and to The Things They Carried. In The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien is the author as well as the character who is pulled apart by two projects: war and morals. The war in Vietnam heavily impacts each soldier causing them to yearn for…show more content…
In this chapter he faces the splitting conflict between the guilt of avoiding the war and the guilt of killing other humans, resulting in him to feel like a coward in both decisions. Due to his fear of the law, he chose to go to war, because he knew societal pressures controlled a moral influence that overpowered his own aversion to the war. At the end he says, “I was a coward. I went to the war,” (O’Brien 61) indicating that because of the guilt and rejection he would face if he didn’t go to the war, he made the decision even though he thought it wasn’t the right thing to do.
Throughout the chapter of “How To Tell A True War Story” the reader is conflicted due to the author’s writing style. Through O’Brien’s writing in the book, the reader is left to ponder between what the author says is true vs what the actual truth is. He writes, “In any war story, but especially a true one, it’s difficult to separate what happened from what seemed to happen. What seems to happen becomes it own happening and has to be told that way,” (O’Brien 71). Tim O'Brien generally tells the reader that in war stories it is difficult to split apart the truth and what the truth seemed like. Therefore, the stories then become what may have seemed to happen because the truth gets mixed in. At the end of the chapter O’Brien says, “All you can do is tell it one more time, patiently, adding and subtracting, making up

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