Comparing Tragedies (How to Te

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 11th grade February 2008

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Tim O'Brien's "How to Tell a Ture War Sotry" and Margaret Atwood's "Death by Landscape" are tragic stories that are relived through the memories of the narrators.

I would not consider "How to Tell a Ture War Sotry" and Death by Landscape" ghosts sotries. My understnatding of a ghost story is a haunting of someone or something. Both stories are interpretations of a personal belief of what happened to thier friends. The narratior of "How to Tell a True War Story," describes how he saw Lemon die. He is mostly disturbed by the politician's and colonel's actions in the war. In "Death by Landscape," Lois tries to live two lives, Lucy's and her own. Lois' life is confined due to her fear of the wilderness. She also collects landscape drawings. "Despite the fact that there are no people in them or even animals, it's as if there is something, or someone, looking back out."

The narrator of "How to Tell a True War Story" expresses his trauma in how he tells his war stories. He believees that "war is hell." In "Death by Landscape," the narrator expresses her truama by Lois' fear of the wilderness. Both narrators try to exercise their pasts by carrying on the memory of their friends, and the good times that they spent together.

Flashbacks in both stories emphasize the effect at the end of the story by helping the narrators cope with the loss of their friends. The settings also show emphasis. In "Death by Landscpae" and "How to Tell a True War Story," the tragic incidences take place in a forest. This is where the climax of the stories take place. Also, the lives of the characters are dransically changed by these tragic events.

The narrator in "How to Tell a True War Story," feels that he has to tell the story exact to make people understnad what went on in Vietnam. If he doesn't tell the story to the exact point, he feels that the listener will become skeptical of what he is saying. In "Death by Landscape," Lois also feels the need to tell the story to the exact point. She wants people to understand the terror she felt when she could not find Lucy. Both narrators find comfort in telling their stories. It helps them to understnad that it really happened and not a figment of their imagination.