Tim O Brien's The Things They Carried

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The Things They Carried, a novel written by Tim O’Brian is a series of twenty-two short stories dealing with the Vietnamese war. The protagonist, Tim O’Brian, who shares the name of the book’s author, is faced with many challenges and tragedies while going through life before, during, and after the war. In The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brian uses both reality and fiction when narrating his stories, thus leaving the reader to determine what is fact and story among the many excerpts of the book. Storytelling is key in the fictional aspects of the novel; as for it deals with character O’Brian’s self-healing process from his memories of the brutal war by writing war stories. As O’Brian explains, story telling is effective because "by telling…show more content…
Several discrepancies exist between the two men. Author O’Brien never had children, or ever killed a man in war. In addition, writer O’Brian has control over what is told, while character O’Brian tells the stories themselves. These simple little facts separate what is real and fake in the novel and reality. Author O’Brian also confuses the reader by writing his novel as if everything that was told took place in the real world. For example, just by saying “this is true” (64) doesn’t always make it true. O’Brian leaves it up to the reader to distinct what they see the story as: reality or fiction. It is said that “a true war story… makes the stomach believe” (74). Author and character O’Brian tell the story in such a way to make it believable that the two different people are really the same person. His aim in the novel was intended to direct the readers more away from the technical facts and more towards the subjected facts. By doing this the reader could establish the bond between an audience and the soldier telling his story. In the end we learn “Story-truth is truer sometimes than happening –truth” (171.), but determining what is reality and fiction can sometimes be
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