The Things They Carried
The Things That Matter: Tim O'Brien and Truthful Fiction 10th Grade
It is one of the greatest paradoxes in literature: a made-up story is more accurate than a factual story. Tim O’Brien sets out to prove this notion in The Things They Carried. This is a book of short stories, some of his personal war tales, some of his platoon-mates' rhetoric, and some from when he was not in combat. These selections all come with a degree of uncertainty, as the reader can never be sure if the narrator, Tim O’Brien, is the same person as the author, Tim O’Brien. One particular story, “How to Tell a True War Story,” is O’Brien's attempt to explain to the reader how facts might not always make a story accurate. The idea behind it is that Vietnam is a place where the line between reality and imagination is blurred. A soldier experiences things impossible to comprehend and, when that soldier returns home, the stories are difficult to recall. It is from here that the men begin to substitute missing details and become lenient towards the facts. Yet, it is no matter, because as any Vietnam veteran would vouch, details are only present to get the listener to pay attention to the underlying message. As exemplified by the stories within “How to Tell a True War Story,” Tim O’Brien could not have as effectively written his...
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 754 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 4832 literature essays, 1497 sample college application essays, 189 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.
Already a member? Log in