Things They Carried Essay

Topics: Kill, Profanity, First Amendment to the United States Constitution Pages: 4 (1859 words) Published: November 1, 2010
Prompt: "You can tell a true war story if it embarrasses you. If you don't care for obscenity, you don't care for the truth; and if you don't care for the truth, watch how you vote. Send guys to war, they come home talking dirty" (O'Brien 69).

Drawing on your reading, knowledge, and experience, write a carefully reasoned essay defending, challenging, or qualifying O'Brien's view of the relationship between truth and obscenity.

Obscenity in Truth
Truth and obscenity have a direct correlation, even in everyday life. This is especially true for war stories. The truth in war is very obscene and hard to believe, people change from their normal being and transform into something that helps them survive. Because war stories are so unpredictable and shocking, it leaves the common person to see these soldiers as crazy and obscene, but this can also be true for crimes in cities too. Derrion Albert, a sixteen year old boy, was beaten to death in a melee by other boys in Chicago. The reason this death is obscene is because he was an honor student and not even a part of the problem. He was just a good kid caught in a bad place at an extremely bad time. This is just one of the many examples of the truth being obscene that occur daily. Tim O'Brien states in The Things They Carried that a truth is obscene; this is shown through the behavior of the characters Curt Lemon and Rat Kiley, as well as the behavior changes of some of the other soldiers. To begin with, O’Brien introduces the concept of obscenity in truth through the character Curt Lemon and his actions. Lemon’s character is one that is easy going, but has a strong sense of pride and manhood. Curt’s manhood had cost him his tooth and his life. He had a terrible fear of dentists ever since he was in high school. This is why when he entered the dentist’s office he fainted, and he had to redeem himself by pulling out his tooth, “The dentist couldn’t find any problem… and yanked out a perfectly...
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