The Things They Carried

Metafiction and Author’s Intention In Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried 11th Grade

In his masterpiece The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien writes a collection of heartbreaking, witty, unbelievable stories about a group of young American soldiers trudging through the war against Vietnam. The Things They Carried manages to convey the feelings associated with being in war without telling the reader what to feel. Critics and readers alike ask: what was O’Brien’s goal when he wrote this novel? What message was he trying to convey? Through several stories such as “Speaking of Courage,” O’Brien makes a statement about the fact that people are sensitive to the topic of war. The passing of war stories from soldier to soldier suggests that as taboo of a subject as it is, talking about war is important not only to educate others but to heal those traumatized by it. The use of metafiction throughout the book helps O’Brien to convey these messages. Tim O’Brien wrote The Things They Carried to address the fact that nobody wants to talk about war, but that, it still must be discussed in order to acknowledge the horrors that go on everyday and to help soldiers to heal. The metafiction in this novel is used primarily to convey this importance.

Throughout every story in the novel, it is shown how difficult it is for the...

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