Truth And Non-Truth In The Things They Carried By Tim O Brien

Topics: Novel, Fiction, Vietnam War Pages: 6 (1319 words) Published: January 16, 2018


Truth and non-truth are several aspects emphasized in Tim O’Brien’s novel The Things They Carried. Throughout the novel, O’Brien “[blurs] the lines between fiction and nonfiction” (Smith), and explores how using fiction to convey the war affects the readers more as they learn about the soldiers. By using juxtaposition and by incorporating fictional parts in the novel, O’Brien shows how truth is less important in war stories than non-truth since non-truth makes the reader look at war stories at a more emotional level than truth.
Juxtaposition is used in the chapter “Good Form” when O’Brien compares story-truth to happening-truth. Story-truth is what it feels like for O’Brien, and happening truth is what actually happened. When O’Brien says...

O’Brien says “The thing about a story is that you dream it as you tell it hoping that others might then dream along with you, and in this way memory and imagination and language combine to make spirits in the head. There is the illusion of aliveness.” (O’Brien, 218) to show how fictional stories are used to go into a different world where everything is better, and how stories help cope with certain things. In addition, O’Brien talks about how he brings back Linda from the dead, who was O’Brien’s childhood friend by saying “...in a story I can steal her soul. I can revive, at least briefly, that which is absolute and unchanging. In a story, miracles happen. Linda can smile and sit up. She can reach out, touch my wrist, and say ‘Timmy, stop crying.’” (O’Brien, 224). This shows that O’Brien keeps Linda alive through fictional stories, and how O’Brien uses fictional stories as a way to escape reality that Linda is dead. It also show that O’Brien cannot forget about Linda, and how bringing back Linda creates an emotion of calmness for...
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