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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 feelings of a soldier. A soldier’s war story is not the exact war story; it is the illustration of that particular soldier’s perception. Narrating a war story is not like inundating others with facts and numbers however, it is about the introspection of a soldier, because that soldier determines what and how to tell the war story. While he tells the war story, he questions his thoughts and feelings. O’Brien explains that when soldiers ponder the external environment they will contemplate their inner thoughts. Krakauer not only elaborates the journey of McCandless but also expresses his experience of traveling to the Alaskan wilderness. This vicarious act of Krakauer ponders the inner thoughts of McCandless. McCandless embarked the journey to detach himself from the social world in order to explore more about him. Both Krakauer and O’Brien analyze about feelings of individuals who were separated from their comfort zones. Introspection is the practice of self-observing one’s thoughts and feelings. When a person analyzes experiences of another person it just gives peripheral thoughts about that person and about the experience. Although it does not enlighten the complete idea, introspection of that experience gives a clearer perspective of that experience.

A person’s experience has a profound meaning; therefore, evaluation of that experience by another individual or by the same individual in a different time frame creates ambiguity. When explaining about the core of a true war story O’Brien says that “When you go to tell about it, there is always that surreal seemingness, which makes the story seem untrue, but which in fact represents the hard and exact truth as it seemed” (442). O’Brien’s usage of ‘surreal seemingness’ has a strong connection with introspection. Introspection also resembles surreal and foggy thoughts about one’s experience in his life. In a soldier’s war story, most of the parts are reflections of his thoughts rather than a literal story. During this Vietnam War period soldiers are disconnected from the place they are from and connection they had earlier. They can only interact with their fellow soldiers. This makes them self-reflect their own thoughts and question their past experiences. As a result, they elaborate the war story as how they look at themselves during the war period. McCandless intentionally disconnects himself from the civilization to discover more about his own self. Krakauer further illustrates this by saying “McCandless went into the wilderness not primarily to...

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