Dialectical Journals of The Things They Carried
| “Among the men in Alpha Company, Rat had a reputation for exaggeration and overstatement, a compulsion to rev up the facts…it was normal procedure to discount sixty or seventy percent of anything he had to say.”
| The narrator, in making a seemingly offhanded comment about Rat’s tendency to lie, reveals another major point of the novel: the truth of a particular story is differing from person to person. Each person, with his or her own perspective, will relate or retell a story in a way they believe is befitting. While some may see this as a lie, others may see it as a necessary exaggeration of the truth in order to achieve the full meaning of the storytelling.
| “He wanted to heat up the truth, to make it burn so hot that you would feel exactly what he felt.”
| Rat’s form of storytelling referenced in this quote exemplifies one prevalent theme throughout the novel: technicalities are not always as important as bringing your audience to feel and experience the same truth of emotion as the event itself. Pieces of a story such as small details or entire parts can be changed while keeping the original intent of its creation perfectly intact, so long as the story was intended to convey a certain caliber of feeling or importance.
| “By telling stories, you objectify your own experience…incidents that did not in fact occur but that nonetheless help to clarify and explain.”
| The storytelling process described in this quote neatly explains a major view of storytelling throughout the novel. Storytelling is not dependent on factuality or strict correctness; it is directly dependent on what the storyteller wishes to convey. A storyteller has a choice to relate their story in any way they wish in order to express themselves.
| “I’m skimming across the surface of my own history…I realize it is as Tim trying to save Timmy’s...
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