How to Tell a True War Story

Topics: Thing, Short story, Vietnam War, Guerrilla warfare / Pages: 9 (2057 words) / Published: Dec 15th, 2009
Philip Hotchkiss
Intro to Literature
Short Story Analysis Paper
October 5, 2009

“How to Tell a True War Story”

I found “How to Tell a True War Story” the most interesting short story we have read so far. Why? Because the story is true and so very real. The story paints such a vivid picture of war and what effects it has on the many men involved. The people are real people, the events are real events, and the story is a real story. It really drives home the point because war is such a big part of life today in which it is always going on. War is part of our past, we are in a war right now, and I’m sure we will have war in the future. It is almost inevitable in ones lifetime to not witness a war which is another reason why it hits so close to home and is so real. “How to Tell a True War Story” was written by Tim O’Brien. O’Brien served in the Vietnam War after being drafted. His works are highly influenced by this time of service. Not only is he telling the stories of these actual men he is also revealing his own feelings along the way. We see this in the pare of the story when he is talking about Rat’s letter. Rat sends a very elaborate and heartfelt letter to his best friend’s sister who was killed at war. This is where O’Brien’s feelings are first shown in his story. The sister of the fallen soldier never writes Rat back after all the effort and emotion that he put into it. O’Brien reacts in the way of calling the man’s sister a ‘cooze’. He mentions everything about the letter and all the feelings that were put into it and seems disgusted and frustrated with this woman and how she did not even have the decency to respond to such a letter. Also the fact that it was from her brother’s best friend and she still did not feel compelled to send something back. However, this also raises a question. How do O’Brien and Rat know that this woman ever received the letter? We are not told that she receives the letter we are just left and it is natural to assume

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