A True War Story

Essay by lilnellybooHigh School, 10th grade February 2007

download word file, 2 pages 5.0

Downloaded 30 times

Tim O'Brien's "How to Tell a True War Story" from the novel: "The Things They Carried" delivers a message of the life in the death, the growth in the anguish, and the beautiful in the horrifying. In this chapter O'Brien describes actual events of war interpreted by soldiers into stories through Rat Kiley's point of view. "In any war story, but especially a true one, it's difficult to separate what happened from what seemed to happen. What seems to happen becomes its own happening and has to be told that way. The angles of vision are skewed." (O'Brien 71) These stories, effectively, become the soldiers' way of survival. There is a thin line between truth and fact in a true war story, and there are certain underlying factors that must be taken into account when analyzing a true war story.

Similarly to the way war distorts a soldier's perception of right and wrong, O'Brien's story distorts the perceptions of beauty and cruelty of the audience.

Through "How to Tell a True War Story", O'Brien illustrates the ability a storyteller has to shape the opinions and feelings of their listener.

Often soldiers telling a true war story will sugar-coat the facts making a story of death a love story. Instead of the focus being on the blood and gore of Curt Lemon's death, O'Brien tells of the beauty of the sun. Instead of them telling of throwing down body parts, he tells of how handsome Curt looked. In the story "How I Earned My Purple Heart" by Sarge Lintecum, he tells of an ambush. During the ambush he is wounded and falls behind. He tells little of his wound however and focusing on "the land of clean sheets" and bragging to the other men before he is...