This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

A Soldier’s War Essay

2680 words - 11 pages

Up until World War I “descriptions of war in America are confined primarily to generals’ account . . . leaving much of the war’s confusion and chaos to the imagination” (Smith 11). American writers rarely considered war as a viable literary subject, until Stephen Crane’s civil war novel, The Red Badge of Courage. Despite Crane having never been in a war zone his publication is considered among the first to capture the potential of the battlefield as a literary backdrop. Further developing the war novel genre, Ernest Hemingway adds what Smith describes as a “journalistic style” to a more modern skeptical outlook on war. Just as Hemingway’s work provides graphic detail of World War I, Tim O’Brien’s novels “[have] become the Vietnam literature of record . . . [in] contemporary war fiction” (Smith 12). Like Hemingway,1 O’Brien takes on a journalistic approach to his novels. Narrating with his typical method of fragmented stream-of-consciousness, Tim O’Brien recalls his past experiences as a soldier and creates a meta-fiction that illustrates the Vietnam War as a senseless paradox.
Fusing physical incident and creative writing, O’Brien establishes his novel in the form of a meta-fiction. The disparity is O’Brien’s first tool in developing his conclusions about the immense contradictions of the Vietnam War.2 For the purposes of this literary analysis the term meta-fiction indicates the blending of factual occurrence and fictitious detail. As defined by Patricia Waugh, meta-fiction is “a fictional writing which self-consciously . . . draws attention to its status as [fiction] in order to [examine] the relationship between fiction and reality” (Waugh 2). In this manner, meta-fiction allows an author to explore a particular event from multiple perspectives and incorporate details that expand upon or even contrast against said event. O’Brien utilizes this technique extensively, creating a fantastically realistic reading experience. In perhaps his most notable example, the story-chapter “Good Form,” O’Brien establishes that actuality is not restricted to fact. He explains how “truth [can] transcend fact” (Moore, par. 3) in the form of his terms “Happening-truth” (O’Brien 179), something that actually occurred and “Story-truth” (O’Brien 179), the surreal what seemed to occur, a confounding concept to say the least. It is best to think of O’Brien’s meta-fiction as a cake with layers of historical fact and literary fiction baked together and topped with a creamy frosting of personal experience. Then take said cake and throw it out of the window of a speeding vehicle. The result is similar to the effect of meta-fiction in The Things They Carried-- the layers of fact, fiction, and personal experience become indistinguishable from one another.
Beginning with “Happening-truth” the narrator explains how he coped with death, “I was once a soldier. There were many bodies, real bodies with real faces, but I was young then and I was afraid to look. And now, twenty...

Find Another Essay On A Soldier’s War

Theme Hemingway's Soldier's Home Essay

578 words - 2 pages Theme Hemingway's “Soldier’s Home” As a young man coming back from the war, Krebs expected things to be the same when he got home and they were, except one. Sure the town looked older and all the girls had matured into beautiful women, Krebs had never expected that he would be the one to change. The horrific experiences of the first World War had alienated and removed those he had cared about, including his family, who stood naïve to the

Invitation for Introspection Essay

1686 words - 7 pages In the text, “How to Tell a True War Story” Tim O’Brien expresses his thoughts about the true war story and how the war story is changed according to the person who tells it. Jon Krakauer illustrates Chris McCandless’s journey to the Alaskan wilderness and reasons for McCandless’s gruesome death in an isolated place, in his book “Into the Wild.” O’Brien relates introspection and a soldier’s war story by saying that the war story portrays the

Introspection Beacons the Search of Self

1662 words - 7 pages In the text, “How to Tell a True War Story” Tim O’Brien expresses his thoughts about the true war story and how the war story is changed according to the person who tells it. Jon Krakauer illustrates Chris McCandless’s journey into the Alaskan wilderness and reasons for McCandless’s gruesome death in an isolated place, in his book “Into the Wild.” O’Brien relates introspection and a soldier’s war story by saying that the war story portrays the

How to Tell a True War Story

610 words - 2 pages returned home, the girls that he saw on the street were the same as when he was there years ago. His father still parks his car in the same spot day in and day out. His mother tries to encourage him to get a job, but he doesn’t care. He was so accustomed to the repetition of a soldier’s life. He couldn’t adjust to the typical lifestyle that other soldiers made. Somehow you can see the struggle he is going through. After the physical war, there was a

How To Tell a True War Story b Tim O'Brien

1444 words - 6 pages In the text, “How to Tell a True War Story” Tim O’Brien expresses his thoughts about the true war story and how the war story is changed according to the person who tells it. Jon Krakauer illustrates Chris McCandless’s journey to the Alaskan wilderness and reasons for McCandless’s gruesome death in an isolated place, in his book “Into the Wild.” O’Brien relates introspection and a soldier’s war story by saying that the war story portrays the

Stories compariso

1127 words - 5 pages share is the message they transmit to the audience, which is that war not only affects soldiers on the battlefield, but also their soul. In these stories, we can see how the characters struggle to accommodate into society. Moreover, both characters have trouble in saying the truth of what happened during their time at war. Krebs, from “Soldier’s home” lies about his experience to get people’s attention, and Kiley from “How to Tell a True War Story

The Things They Carried and Unbroken: Comprehending the Incomprehensible Pain of War

1203 words - 5 pages experiencing war themselves. Without enduring the actual pain of war injuries, individuals still argue the importance war and its miseries. Individuals rely on media and entertainment for education about the suffering and evils of war. Writers provide an acute sense of a soldier’s physical and mental burdens through vivid imagery and relatable metaphors. Books can express the seemingly inexpressible pain of war through graphic descriptions

Who Is William Faulkner?

749 words - 3 pages writing, his writing style was inspired heavily by other writers. Faulkner wrote his first novel, Soldier’s Pay and was written after a direct influence from Sherwood Anderson, who asked Faulkner to try fictional writing. ‘Soldier’s Pay’ is about fragmented life because of war and a injured soldier’s pain and death. William Faulkner didn’t just write novels, but also on diverse subjects. He wrote novels, short stories, plays, poetry, essays and

Black and White: A Visual Interpretation of Racism during the Vietnam War

773 words - 4 pages In Michael Nelson’s The Presidency, a photograph of President Lyndon B. Johnson giving members of the 101st Airborne their service medals for fighting in the Vietnam War is used to describe how he served his term as president (see Appendix 1 for photograph). The photograph was taken during July in 1966 at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, and it is a black and white picture showing President Lyndon B. Johnson moving down a line of soldiers, stopping at

Rhetorical Analysis

1133 words - 5 pages portraying the treachery of war. Throughout the chapter, the distinction between truth and fiction constantly becomes blurred. With each story told how a soldier perceived it to have happened rather than how it actually happened; Tim O’Brien “underscores the importance of manipulating what actually happened to get at the essence of truth” (King). O’Brien uses hyperboles to exaggerate the war and the soldier’s feelings. Although the hyperboles

Mail Troubles of the Civil War

1441 words - 6 pages Mail Troubles of the Civil War The nation’s communication system was cut in two when the civil war began in 1861. Mail was very important in boosting most soldier’s morale. Writing letters was soldier’s link between Civil War camps and battlefields and “back home” (Civil War). Many soldiers had never been this far from home and would often feel very homesick. Staying in touch with their loved ones helped them from getting too sad and reminded

Similar Essays

Similarities Of “How To Tell A True War Story” By Ernest Hemingway And “A Soldier’s Home” By Tim O’brien

1090 words - 4 pages Ashlynne NicholsProfessor GullENC1102 OnlineSeptember 27th, 2012Similarities of "How to Tell a True War Story" by Ernest Hemingway and"A Soldier's Home" by Tim O'BrienErnest Hemingway's "A Soldier's Home" and Tim O'Brien's "How to Tell A True War Story" are two very different, yet also very similar, compelling stories about impact of war during the 20th century. The authors of both of these stories did a very well job at illustrating what war

Short Story Analyst Soldier’s Home

1164 words - 5 pages I chose Hemingway?s ?Soldier?s Home,? to do my analysis. The story focuses on Harold Krebs, a young man that has just returned from war to a small, boring, mid western town. His parents don?t understand the impact of war on his mental condition and also, to add to his frustration, they put the pressure of reality on him. The morals and ethics that he grew up with in the small Methodist town now have him somewhat lost, which is the underlining

Poem Essay

1000 words - 4 pages which means that his death has no purpose and therefore war has no purpose. In the third stanza, the poet describes the soldier’s dehumanisation as his fear has become explosive: “his terror’s touchy dynamite.” Through this metaphor, the poet presents war as a cause of the destruction of human life, not only in terms of death but also in terms of humanity since the soldier would rather kill than be killed. In this way, the poet creates an image

The Inner Thoughts Essay

665 words - 3 pages , in this case the suicide attempt, and never understanding why. The novel A Soldier’s Home, demonstrates the theme of loneliness, and miss-understanding, is where Krebs returns to his hometown from the War, and now sees the town odd, as if there was something missing. Though nothing did change, everything stood the same. Since Krebs live with his family, there is barely any dialogue. Except for his little sister and mother, they speak with them