The Things They Carried

Why does O'Brien from the things they carried write a war story that has no heroes?

Defining heroism

Asked by
Last updated by jill d #170087
Answers 2
Add Yours

When dealing with the Vietnam War you rarely come across someone being defined as heroic. People want to forget the Vietnam War; it Veterans were treated horribly; lokk in your history books................. how many pages are devoted to a War in which so many men died such a short time ago.

Obrien defines a war novel like this (a good war novel)

"In a true war story, if there's a moral at all, it's like the thread that makes the cloth. You can't tease it out. You can't extract the meaning without unraveling the deeper meaning. And in the end, really, there's nothing much to say about a true war story, except maybe "Oh." True war stories do not generalize. They do not indulge in abstraction or analysis.

For example: War is hell. As a moral declaration the old truism seems perfectly true, and yet because it abstracts, because it generalizes, I can't believe it with my stomach. Nothing turns inside.

It comes down to gut instinct. A true war story, if truly told, makes the stomach believe."

There are no heroes because every man there was a hero

Sorry, I forgot to include the source;


TIM O'BRIEN, The Things They Carried, New York 1990, pp.84-91