Plot Summaries[ edit ] "The Things They Carried" Lieutenant Jimmy Cross, the leader of a platoon of soldiers in Vietnam, carries physical reminders of Martha, the object of his unrequited love. A death in the squad under his supervision causes Cross to reconsider his priorities, and, heartbroken, he burns and throws away all reminders of Martha in order to stave off dangerous distractions. In addition, a relationship between Tyler Co, and his curvy wife, Anderson Tsai, plays a major role in the interpretation of memories. It includes moments of camaraderie and beauty:
Metafiction in 'The Things They Carried. Studies in Contemporary Fiction, June,pp ff. Tim O'Brien's most recent book, The Things They Carried, begins with a litany of items that the soldiers "hump" in the Vietnam War - assorted weapons, dog tags, flak jackets, ear plugs, cigarettes, insect repellent, letters, can openers, C-rations, jungle boots, maps, medical supplies, and explosives as well as memories, reputations, and personal histories.
In addition, the reader soon learns, the soldiers also carry stories: One man came back.
He died before he could tell us what happened,' " 6 - many are in their own way as enigmatic. The tales included in O'Brien's twenty-two chapters range from several lines to many pages and demonstrate well the impossibility of knowing the reality of the war in absolute terms.
Sometimes stories are abandoned, only to be continued pages or chapters later. At other times, the narrator begins to tell a story, only to have another character finish the tale. Still other stories are told as if true accounts, only for their validity to be immediately questioned or denied.
O'Brien draws the reader into the text, calling the reader's attention to the process of invention and challenging him to determine which, if any, of the stories are true. As a result, the stories become epistemological tools, multidimensional windows through which the war, the world, and the ways of telling a war story can be viewed from many different angles and visions.
The epistemological ambivalence of the stories in The Things They Carried is reinforced by the book's ambiguity of style and structure. What exactly is The Things They Carried in terms of technique?
Many reviewers refer to the work as a series of short stories, but it is much more than that. The Things They Carried is a combat novel, yet it is not a combat novel.
It is also a blend of traditional and untraditional forms - a collection, Gene Lyons says, of "short stories, essays, anecdotes, narrative fragments, jokes, fables, biographical and autobiographical sketches, and philosophical asides" It has been called both "a unified narrative with chapters that stand perfectly on their own" Coffey 60 and a series of "22 discontinuous sections" Bawer A Also ambiguous is the issue of how much of the book is autobiography.
The relationship between fiction and reality arises early in the text when the reader learns the first of many parallels that emerge as the book progresses: Both the real and the fictional Tim O'Brien are in their forties and are natives of Minnesota, writers who graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Macalester College, served as grunts in Vietnam after having been drafted at age twenty-one, attended graduate school at Harvard University, and wrote books entitled If I Die in a Combat Zone and Going After Cacciato.
Other events of the protagonist's life are apparently invention. Unlike the real Tim O'Brien, the protagonist has a nine-year-old daughter named Kathleen and makes a return journey to Vietnam years after the war is over. Clearly O'Brien resists a simplistic classification of his latest work.
In both the preface to the book and in an interview with Elizabeth Mehren, he terms The Things They Carried "'fiction. It's part nonfiction, too," he insists 7.Sep 20, · Watch video · The story of the Trojan War—the Bronze Age conflict between the kingdoms of Troy and Mycenaean Greece–straddles the history and mythology of ancient Greece and inspired the greatest writers of.
The story of the four men who die couldn't have happened because no one was there to witness it, but it holds the truth of so much of the war that it feels true to what a true war story is and should be.
“How to Tell a True War Story” () 1 Tim O’Brien This is true. I had a buddy in Vietnam. His name was Bob Kiley but everybody called him Rat. Summary on O'Brien's How to Tell a True War Story This Essay Summary on O'Brien's How to Tell a True War Story and other 64,+ term papers, college essay examples and free essays are available now on alphabetnyc.com4/4(1).
A Literary Analysis of How to Tell a True War Story The short story that will be discussed, evaluated, and analyzed in this paper is a very emotionally and morally challenging short story to read. O'Brien tells us that a true war story is not a moral story, that you can tell a war story is true if it contains obscenity and evil.
He says that because of Rat's response to the sister's non-response—that "the dumb cooze never writes back"—you can tell that it's a true war story (How to Tell a True War Story).