How to Tell a True War Story

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Kendall Ruyle
S. Higgins
English 132
1 April 2012
“How to Tell a True War Story”
O’Briens “How to Tell a True War Story”, is a compilation of war stories and some experiences that men have had while away from home, at war during a battle. The theme of O’Briens short story is to always look at the positive side of all things that may happen in one’s life. There is a positive side in every single action that takes place in people’s lives. O’Brien tries to explain a war story as best as he can but, most believe that to actually know the events that happened and how gory or pleasant each little thing was, one must experience it themselves.

O’Brien’s objective is to prove to the audience that it is next to impossible to tell a “true” war story and be able to explain all of the details in which are seen throughout a war. In the story, the plot is not an easy one to follow. This is caused by the author putting multiple war stories into one complete story. The following quote is an example of O’Brien trying to express as many minor details as possible: “They carry the soldier’s greatest fear, which was the fear of blushing. Men killed, and died, because they were embarrassed not to. It was what had brought them to the war in the first place, nothing positive, no dreams of glory or honor, just to avoid the blush of dishonor. They died so as not to die of embarrassment.”(O’Brien 1152)

This quote is a direct quote from a different short story pertaining to war. Obrien uses this type of writing to try and capture as many minor details as possible in the short story. In the story, this quote explains how every man away from at war is trying to mask their emotions as well as their fear of dying.

In the short story called “How to Tell a True War Story,” the narrator Tim O’Brien himself has a friend who went to war in Vietnam. His friend Curt Lemon, Tim O’Brien however does not return home to his friends and family after the war is over. In the story, there...
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