Thursday, February 14, 2019
OBriens Things They Carried Essay: Truth, Fiction, and Human Emotion
The Things They Carried Truth, Fiction, and Human Emotion There are many levels of verity in Tim OBriens The Things They Carried. This novel deals with story-telling as an act of communication and therapy, rather than a mere recital of fact. In the telling of war stories, and instruction in their telling, OBrien shows that truth is unimportant in communicating military personnel emotion through stories. OBriens writing style is so magnificent, the reader frequently finds himself accepting the events and expand of this novel as absolute fact. To contrast truth and fiction, the author inserts reminders that the stories are not fact, only if are mere representations of human emotion incommunicable as fact. OBriens most direct discussion of truth appears in Good Form. He begins with, Its time to be blunt, and goes on to say that everything in the book but the very premise of a foot sol discoverr in Vietnam is invented. This comes as a shock after reading what seems to be a conven tionalized presentation of fact. In the sequence of dissertation of Courage followed by Notes, OBrien adds a second dimension of truth to a story so vivid that the reader may have already accepted it as the schoolmaster truth. In Notes, OBrien steps out of the novel and addresses the reader to discuss the character, Norman Bowker, and the formation and history of the previous story, Speaking of Courage. In a earn from Norman Bowker, Tim OBrien is asked to write a story about his p wile in the war. In discussing this, OBrien presents an elaborate picture of the storys development and the main characters real-life demise Speaking of Courage was written in 1975 at the suggestion of Norman Bowker, who ternary years later hanged himself in the locker room of a YMC... ...OBrien goes beyond the telling of war stories in The Things They Carried to say something larger about the art and purpose of story-telling. Contrasting truth and fiction, OBrien shows that the truth cannot al behavi ors communicate human emotion. OBriens personal guilt at seeing a man die from a grenade blast is real, and must be communicated as such in a story. Norman Bowkers guilt at seeing Kiowa sink into the flub leaves him with a sense of direct personal misfortune. By incorporating this sense of failure into fictional events, OBrien is able to communicate the true human emotion goat the story, rather than just the facts. Above and beyond a simple slump of war stories, The Things They Carried reduces fiction to the very heart of why stories are told the way they are. Works CitedOBrien, Tim. The Things They Carried.New York Penguin Books USA Inc., 1990.