The Hidden Truth In Fiction Essay

1643 words - 7 pages

The Hidden Truth in Fiction
“No event in American history is more misunderstood than the Vietnam War. It was misreported then, and is misunderstood now” (Richard Nixon). This quote said by Richard Nixon was directed toward everyone in the United States involved in relaying the events of Vietnam back to the U.S. It showed how almost no one was able to describe any realistic detail of the event, except for Tim O’Brien. A student at Macalester College, Tim O’Brien was heavily involved in various antiwar protests, such as war protests and several peace vigils (“The Things They Carried…” 318). However, Tim O’Brien was drafted into the army, and by the time he was released, he was promoted to a captain (“O’Brien (William)…” 1). This source also goes on to say that due to his efforts, Tim O’Brien received the honorary Purple Heart (“O’Brien (William)…” 1). Another source states that, “despite being awarded the Purple Heart for wounds he received, O’Brien loathed the war and everything about it, but it would become the catalyst and continuing inspiration for his literary career” (“The Things…” 319). This quote helps to explain why Tim O’Brien’s work focuses mainly on characters dreading the war and wishing to be released home (“The Things…” 319). Due to the Vietnam War O’Brien fought in, his work focuses on fictional experiences of characters in the Vietnam War (“O’Brien (William)…” 318). Many health experts have commended O’Brien “for his insightful depiction of combat trauma” (“The Things…” 228). This source also goes as far as to say that, his stories can be compared to the Iliad, and the war stories of Ambrose Bierce (“The Things…” 228). “The Things They Carried” is considered by many, a great addition to books based on Vietnam literature (“The Things…“ 228). “The Things They Carried” is a short story written by Tim O’Brien which displays the actions of an infatuated lieutenant. The lieutenant leads a crew through the jungle of Vietnam during the height of the Vietnam War. While the men are distracted one of their own are shot and killed, and for the rest of the story, the men are left facing the cruel situation that they are in. The realistic tone that Tim presents in “The Things They Carried” is best seen through the main character, Jimmy Cross (“The Things…” 320). In “The Things They Carried,” Tim O’Brien uses imagery, and internal conflict to show the ironic realism in fiction.
The first way Tim O’Brien establishes the truth in his fictional work of “The Things They Carried,” is by including an onslaught of details. In “The Things They Carried,” Tim O’Brien uses real and imaginary items, as well as physical items and emotional items to describe the burdens that were placed upon the soldiers (Kaplan 231). O’Brien creates a list that not only includes items, but also specific weights, and specific amounts of ammunition (Kaplan 231). These weights that O’Brien includes are physical, but he also establishes certain emotional...

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