The Way In Which A War Story Is Told Can Affect The Audience’S

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The way in which a war story is told can affect the audience’s perception of the truth behind the story. In a war story, the physical and mental environment plays a large role in the evidence of the literary work as a “true war story.” These “true war story” characteristics come from Tim O’Brien’s book The Things They Carried. Ambrose Bierce’s Civil War short story A Horseman in the Sky is a great example of the power of the setting in a “true war story.” In this Civil War short story, Carter Druse enlist with the Union against his fathers will. Carter is put in an unfortunate position later in the story as he must choose wheather or not to shoot his father, a Confederate Soldier. Ambrose Bierce’s vivid and lengthy description of the…show more content…
Ambrose Bierce goes into such detail about the road which the solider is on that the element of war takes a secondary role. The reader knows the exact location of druse on a steeply ascending slope angled out overlooking a thousand-foot cliff into a valley and river before background information is given about the character. Through providing such a thorough description of Druse’s setting before any information on him, Bierce makes a statement that the beauty of the setting is more important than the reason the character is in that place. One scholar, Lawrence I. Berkove, comments in his book, A Prescription for Adversity, that Bierce describes, “an initially Edenic setting of the story- A sunny afternoon in a picturesquely wooded country of cliffs surrounding a deep valley with a meadow and a steep stream” (107). As Berkove illustrates, the opening paragraphs in A Horseman in the Sky present a perfect setting untouched or undamaged. This picturesque setting is apart from war itself which is gory and ugly. However, the setting Bierce describes is one that is very much in line with “a true war story” according to Tim O’Brien. In his characteristics, O’Brien list that a “true war story” is about “the special way dawn spreads out on a river.” Abrose Briece’s war story is about the beautiful backdrop of the mountainous country in western
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