The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien

1156 Words5 Pages
In Tim O’Brien’s novel, “The Things They Carried,” imagination is seen to be both beneficial and harmful. This novel consists of a story truth and a real truth. Tim O’Brien writes the book about the Vietnam War based primarily on his memory of the war. He does not remember every detail of the war, thus he makes up some false details to make the story seem more interesting. He does not only describe his own experiences, but also describe the experiences of other characters. He wants the readers to be able to feel and understand how he felt during the events of the story; he wants to provoke an emotional truth. O’Brien tries to prove that imagination is not completely a bad thing and that it is also a good thing. O’Brien starts to create stories about what could have happened in addition to the real war stories about himself and other characters’. With the power of imagination, O’Brien is able to talk about something that did not actually happen in his past. Imagination helps him escape reality and create a whole new life. Therefore, O’Brien uses imagination to do things that cannot be done in real life, to feel relieved, to confuse the readers on what is real and what is not, and to give the readers false belief. O’Brien shows that imagination can help us do things that could not be done in real life, and it can help us escape reality. For instance, the first chapter talks about how Lieutenant Jimmy Cross always daydreams about a relationship between himself and Martha.
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