The Things They Carries by Tim O´brien

Decent Essays

What is “truth”? In The Things They Carried, the reader has their eyes opened to a new kind of “truth”; a “truth” that is not based on the honesty of events, the “happening-truth”, but the honesty of human nature, the “story-truth.” The novel itself, The Things They Carried, is comprised of many different stories based on the author Tim O’Brien’s service in the Vietnam war. Recalling from memories of his service, Tim O’Brien intricately weaves fact and fiction into his novel to force the reader into a turmoil of emotions by telling “true war stories,” that are not, in fact, war stories. Although many readers believe that “truth” is the act of retelling reality, “truth” is, in O'Brien's reality, the act of portraying emotions; that is why a “true war story” is not about war, but emotions. Throughout the book, O’Brien repeatedly states his struggles in telling “a true war story.” One of the obstacle he faces in telling “a true war story” is the readers’ misconception that “truth” must be an event and not an emotion. To begin, O’Brien claims “A true war story is never moral… If at the end of a war story you feel uplifted… then you have been made the victim of a very old and terrible lie… you can tell a true war story by its absolute and uncompromising allegiance to obscenity and evil” (68-69) and “All of us… like to believe that in a moral emergency we will behave like the heroes of our youth” (38). In these two statements, O’Brien has shown us that people want not a

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