16 April 2013
Illusion and Reality
In life, things don’t always turn out like people want them to. Some people are lucky enough to have everything they need and want, whiles others wish their situations whether it be financial situations, health situations, family problems, relationships, sorrows …were different. It is therefore only natural for some people to sometimes fantasize about the things they most desire. In literary works like “The Things They Carried,” “The Glass Menagerie,” and “Facing It,” the authors Tim O’Brien, Tennessee Williams, and Yusef Komunyakaa respectively, publicized their characters quest to change their situations. In “The Things They Carried,” the narrator expressed his wishful intentions to change his relationship with his friend Martha. In “The Glass Menagerie,” the character Laura of the Wingfield family conveyed hopelessness and insecurity as a result from her illhealth circumstance, hindering her ability to socially function in life like any normal person, and forcing her to create a world of illusion as oppose to living in reality. In “Facing It,” the narrator longed to have a reconnection with his friends lost in war. The characters effort to pursue their desires by living in a world of fantasy conveyed by their thoughts and reflections, led them to constant struggles to differentiate and keep a balance between both worlds, resulting in the creation of two parallel worlds (a world of illusion in contrast to living in reality).
Thoughts have been a significant medium through which the authors of all three literary works have demonstrated struggle between illusion and reality. In the story “The Things They Carried,” author Tim O’Brien used the character Jimmy Cross’s thoughts to create a fantasy world. The story told of Jimmy Cross’s relationship with his friend back home Martha, with whom he communicates with on a regular basis. Furthermore, the author Tim O’Brien revealed Jimmy Cross’s thoughts openly to the readers on his delusional thoughts towards Martha, which brought about his struggle to separate his fantasies from reality. For example, he would often retire his night wondering “if Martha was a virgin” (O’Brien 344). Other instances where he vividly described Martha from the pictures: “Her eyes were gray and neutral, her lips slightly open as she stared straighton at the camera…her legs, he thought, were almost certainly the legs of a virgin, dry and without hair” (O’Brien 345). Other examples were times Lieutenant Cross would go back in time and reflect about some of the special moments he shared with Martha in the past before he departed for the war, like their movie date: “the movie was
Bonnie and Clyde
, during the final scene he touched her
knew…he remembered kissing her good night at the dorm door” and how he wish he could have done things differently with Martha: “He should’ve carried her up the stairs to her room and tied her to the bed and touched that left knee all night long” (O’Brien 346). Truth about “Illusion vs. Reality” themed in this story was in fact confirmed by the author himself Tim O’Brien in an interview where he was asked to give his reason on why he “blurred the line between fiction and nonfiction” (Smith). According to Mr. O’Brien, his first justification was that he wanted to “compose a fiction with the texture, sound and authenticseeming weight of nonfiction… with an interesting, compelling, and fresh way of telling a story” (Smith). Mr. O’Brien’s second reason
of why he told the story the way he did is because he wanted the readers to know that soldiers in war are not just cold hearted and programmed to fight, but they also experience normal, everyday activities like heartbreak – “Yes, there is a real war going, with real casualties and real ...
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