Tuesday, October 15, 2019

They Carried the Truth Essay Example for Free

They Carried the Truth Essay Tim O’Brien uses a unique narrative style as he, the narrator, details the lives of the men from his platoon in the Things They Carried.   It is more about the men (and what happens to their minds) who fought the Vietnam war than the war itself, and even though O’Brien admits that the stories are not true, they certainly could be. The novel is about the lives of the men in Jimmy Cross’ platoon during the Vietnam war, as narrated by O’Brien.    Each man has his own things to carry in his rucksack, both physical items for war, safety, and food, and, in the same token, mental anxieties and deep, mostly unexpressed fears as well.   The novel unfolds as the men deal with the war; a few die, one brings his girlfriend (a pampered thing in a pink sweater) out for a visit, and some, including Cross, seek revenge on their own men in moments of weakness.   That’s what war can do to a man. In chapter one, a reader learns that â€Å"by daylight they took sniper fire, at night they were mortared, but it was not battle, it was just the endless march, village to village, without purpose, nothing won or lost[1].†Ã‚   This is perhaps the most pivotal statement in the novel, because at once it details the pointless aspect of the war, while at the same time demonstrating the bravery and sheer doggedness of the men who fight it—even if the war seems to have no purpose other than killing.   Each chapter reveals a bit more about the men of the platoon in the form of a longish anecdote while the reader is acclimated, nearly as quickly as the men, to the horrors and difficulty of being a soldier. Now, O’Brien’s novel is unique for two reasons.   First, he inserts himself in as the narrator, and second, he admits that this is a work of fiction (even though he did fight in the Vietnam war), but also concludes that his tales could quite possibly be true—because all things have an ounce of truth when it comes to war.   Like the narrator, O’Brien also went to war because he was scared not to (even though he was against what it stood for), which lends an interesting double-life to the narrator as his tales become even more authoritative and honest than he realizes.   While this may be a work of â€Å"fiction† because the spine says so, the fact that O’Brien lived it makes every event and character more vivid and realistic because of the inherent truth driving them.   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Moreover, there are three main themes, among others, that run throughout the novel: bravery, how war effects a soldier both physically and mentally, and, as O’Brien admits in the first chapter, a reader’s understanding of the truth he weaves with fiction, because, only stories that reveal the truth can be true.   This is a story about the men who could have fought the war, how they dealt with it, and what kind of men the frightening, deadly jungles of Vietnam made them become. Overall, O’Brien tells a story that could have happened.   A reader learns about the men of the platoon based on the things they carried, which serves the double purpose of furthering the story while giving each soldier a deeper, darker depth to his character.   As a study of the Vietnam war, this is probably not the most explicitly accurate text, but this is not a story about war, it is about what war does to a man. [1] O’Brien, Tim.   Things They Carried.   (New York: Random House, 1990), 15.

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