How To Tell A True War Story Essays

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Summary: Analysis of Tim O'Brien's work in following his self set rules in, "The Things They Carried."


In chapter 7 - How to Tell a True War Story - of Tim O'Brien's novel, "The Things They Carried," O'Brien outlines his criteria for what he believes makes a `true war story.' O'Brien says that such a story "does not instruct", "does not make you feel uplifted" and should, in fact, cause embarrassment. In a true war story, it should be "hard to separate what happened with what seemed to happen," and the story should not be believable. "If it is believable, be sceptical." It should not generalize, abstract or analyze, should offer no point and have no moral. In a sense, O'Brien explains that the point of a true war story is to make "your gut believe" - to make you understand that war cannot be generalize or summed up, and that the feelings of a soldier are endless. Whether the details of a war story...

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This section contains 568 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)

View a FREE sample

Tim O’ Brien’s How To Tell A True War Story

Many times readers lose interest in stories that they feel are not authentic. In addition, readers feel that fictitious novels and stories are for children and lack depth. Tim O’ Brien maintains that keeping readers of fiction entertained is a most daunting task, “The problem with unsuccessful stories is usually simple: they are boring, a consequence of the failure of imagination- to vividly imagine and to vividly render extraordinary human events, or sequences of events, is the hard-lifting, heavy-duty, day-by-day, unending labor of a fiction writer” (Tim O’ Brien 623). Tim O’ Brien’s “How to Tell a True War Story” examines the correlation between the real experiences of war and the art of storytelling. In O’Brien’s attempt to bridge the gap between fiction and non-fiction the narrator of the story uses language and acts of violence that may be offensive to some. However some readers agree that Tim O" Brien's "How to Tell a True War Story" would lack authenticity and power without the use of crude language and violence.
“How to Tell a True War Story" was filled with profanities that are characteristic of the language usage of the average sailor or soldier. The setting of “How to Tell a True War Story” was the Vietnam War where the word gook originated. Gook is a derogatory word used to describe people of Asian descent that can also be compared to the word nigger. The characters in the short story used the term effortlessly and repeatedly, “So they listen-And every night they keep hearing this crazyass gook concert” (O’Brien 620). Although the word gook was crude and offensive, it was also necessary to convey the feelings of hate that the soldiers possessed toward the enemy during war.
While the letter that Rat Kiley had written to Curt Lemon’s sister was to him heart- felt and personal it was actually filled with violence and...

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Interview comparing Oliver Parker's "Othello' and Tim Blake Nelson's 'O' to the original play Othello. Othello- William Shakespeare

1234 words - 5 pages Hello and welcome to the movie show. This week we have James Pearson, a recognised Shakespearean authority and critic to discuss two film adaptations of the Shakespearean play Othello. Oliver Parker's 1995 production and Tim Blake Nelson's 'O' will be the two films analysed against the original...

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