Tim O Brien's The Things They Carried

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The Things They Carried (1989 Prompt) Throughout the work, several instances occur in which what is true is not what matters, but rather the concepts and emotions that the reader feels. Because of this, Tim O'Brien writes in a way that makes the reader feel those emotions, which would be lost if he told strictly the truth. In the chapters “On the Rainy River”, “How to Tell a True War Story”, and “Good Form”, O'Brien asserts to the reader the fact that reality is sometimes not sufficient to convey concepts and distortion is sometimes necessary. Despite the chapter “On the Rainy River” being almost entirely fictional, as stated in the chapter “Good Form”, it captures the feeling of uncertainty and confusion in a more interesting and profound way than the truth would be. The journey of self-discovery described in this chapter never happened. This doesn't matter because it makes more evident the intense moral struggle that he was going through. Another example of this is how he recounts both true and “story true” facts starting on page 55. This leads the reader to believe that his personal experiences are conveyed more accurately in the form of a story as all of the flashes of his past and future form a striking image in the mind of the reader, even though some of them didn't truly happen.…show more content…
On page 79, he states, “You can tell a true war story by the questions you ask...if the answer matters, you've got your answer.” He's saying that if the story's true or not doesn't matter, only the concepts it's illustrating. Also, on page 81, he states that “All you can do is tell it one more time, patiently, adding and subtracting, making up a few things to get at the real truth.” This further illustrates the point main theme of differing levels of reality to get the reader to truly understand the experiences he'd
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