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

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Summary “Politics and the English Language” is George Orwell’s critique of the shape that modern English is taking. He draws upon specific aspects of contemporary writing detrimental to the language including over-used metaphors, removal of simple verbs, use of passive voice and fancier, meaningless words, and “ready-made phrases” (Orwell 278). In his mind, this decay of language is correlated to foolish thinking, and thus its elimination is vital. Orwell picks on five passages, which range from essays of professors, political pamphlets to newspaper articles, to illustrate the mistakes of modern English. He especially faults literary critics and politicians for muffling the meaning of their writing or speeches with the usage of unnecessary,…show more content…
In Tim O’Brien’s “How to Tell a True War Story”, the speaker develops several versions of the same war story without one conclusive account, though he himself was a witness to it. The narrator also presents contradictory adjectives to describe war, calling it “grotesque” and a “beauty” in the same line (O’Brien 77). A war soldier’s idea that a fight with heavy artillery and widespread bloodshed is “beauty” hinders George Orwell’s concept of war being gratified by politicians alone (281). It also challenges Orwell’s argument that war is to be portrayed in a plain and unambiguous manner (281). Maybe, Orwell expects too much when he wants war stories to not be beautified but instead bring up a single, perfect picture to…show more content…
O’Brien’s speaker tells stories of war and then ends them with unusual comments. After one story, he advocates “it wasn’t a war story” but instead a “love story” (O’Brien 81). This is bewildering to the mind as how can a story of death be a tale of love. The narrator’s understanding of the story is radically different from the typical readers. At the end of another story, he says, “[t]hat’s a true war story that never happened” (O’Brien 80). Conceivably, it never happened and yet it is a true story because that is how all the present parties remember it. The real incident is too inexpressible for them to word in the vocabulary that is available to them and thus it is modified in their memories into words they can apprehend. This memory of theirs is the story they tell. If there is a discrepancy between what soldiers see, understand and tell, are the incidents and emotions of what truly happened at the war scene even

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