The Things They Carried : True Vs. False

1717 words - 7 pages

How do you decide what is true and what is false? In war the line blurs even more. We hear war stories and wonder about the truth of these stories. We love to believe the stories of heroism and bravery. Now how do we know that these stories are real and not created propaganda? The Things They Carried by Tim O?Brien is a fiction book that shines some light on war stories. This complex book focuses on a complex war. The Vietnam War was complex for the reasons surrounding it. Some of the reasons were; the question why we were over there, governments that told half truths on what was going on, and the style of fighting was totally different compared to the past wars. This new style is called guerrilla warfare. O?Brien writes stories that make you believe that they are real, but the book is fiction. In ?How to Tell a True War Story? he gives his rules on telling a real war story, and maybe help us clear up some of the false stories about the war. I will take some of these rules and stories to prove if they are real or not.One of O?Brien?s stories is ?Church?. This is a true war story because it has nothing to do with the war, but deals with two men?s thoughts on religion. One of the rules O?Brien said is ?A true war story is never about war?(83) proves that this is true. A true war story is about embarrassment, memory, sorrow, and love. (O?Brien) It?s about the land and the hump. An example is in WWII when the U.S.A. dropped the atomic bomb. It?s not about the dropping of the atomic bomb, but about the thoughts and struggles in the minds of the crew who dropped the atomic bomb, or it?s about the kid forty years later who still is affected from the nuclear blast. Now ?Church? is about the soldiers who set up a base of operations for a week in a partly abandoned pagoda. A pagoda is a temple used to worship a god. Two monks live there who were peaceful men. Kiowa, one of the soldiers who carries the New Testament with him, says ?It?s bad news?You don?t mess with churches?(O?Brien 119). Kiowa believed you don?t set up base inside a church. Kiowa and Henry Dobbins talk about religion during their time there. This story is not about war although it?s in war, and they use the church as a base. Kiowa and Dobbins talk of their church experiences, and Dobbins talk about his thought of becoming a minister. This story is about the religion each believes in. Dobbins just wanted to be nice to people, but war change him. Kiowa on the other hand carries his Bible around, but his faith is more like a blanket or refuge. It is just what he grew up with. A big part of this story is the contradiction that they are in a church, but they are in a war using the church as a base. War is not about morals. Like Dobbins says after the monks left after they finished clean his machine gun ?You?re right?All you can do is be nice. Treat them decent, you know??(O?Brien 123). So you can see that war isn?t about war; it is about each person?s morals and beliefs.In war you expect death...

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