The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien

Decent Essays
In the novel, The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien there is an ambiguity assigned to the life of a soldier in the Vietnam war, an ambiguity that represents no clear moral victor, no clear heroes, and seemingly no end. In the movie, Platoon, written and directed by Oliver Stone, the same ambiguity is depicted, with no clear moral direction, no clear heroes, and no clear resolution. In the short story, “How to Tell a True War Story,” O’Brien talks in great detail about how a true war story, and not some reimagining, “is never moral” (O’Brien) and “cannot be believed” (O’Brien). According to O’Brien, the movie Platoon will qualify as a true war story because it is not moral, hard to believe, and has no clear resolution. “A true war story is never moral. It does not instruct, nor encourage virtue, nor suggest models of proper human behaviour, nor restrain men from doing things men have always done” (O’Brien) Platoon is a movie that is free from the chains of an overarching sense of morality. There are no morals to be found in this movie, and it’s nihilistic depiction of war allows no room for morality to come to fruition. One way that Stone accomplishes this is by not establishing a clear “us” (Americans) and “them” (Viet Cong) throughout the entire movie, and instead we see the confusion, anger, hatred, and fear that overcomes the American soldiers sent into a war where the enemy is never fully known. There is a scene in the movie Platoon that is based on the My-Lai
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