The Power of the Truth
Novelist Tim O’Brian once said “A lie, sometimes, can be truer than the truth, which is why fiction gets written.” In his novel The Things They Carried, O’Brian argues that “story-truth is sometimes truer than happening-truth” (171). O’Brian opposes the idea of absolute truth, and believes that all truths are subject to change. He believes that a fictional story can be more true than an actual event. However, a story, no matter what story, cannot be more true than an actual event; a “story version” of an event is merely a shadow of that event—a make-up-caked, dramatized, Hollywood shadow. It is impossible for “story-truth” to be truer than “happening-truth.”
In The Things They Carried O’Brian creates a daughter, Kathleen, for the fictional version of himself. O’Brian, however, does not have a daughter in real life. While it may be a “story-truth” that Tim O’Brian had a daughter, it will never be a “happening-truth.” A made-up daughter will never be more real than O’Brian’s actual son. In the novel, O’Brian “return[s] with [his] daughter to Vietnam” where he buries a belonging of a fellow soldier (173). This story can never be more true than an actual event solely because of the involvement of a fictional character. A man can tell a story about his last trip to the grocery store, and most people would count it as true. However, if the man told a story about going to the grocery store with a magic genie, it would be assumed that he is lying, even if every other facet of his story was believable. This is no different than O’Brian weaving a fictional character in to his novel. The “story-truth” of Kathleen can never be more true than “happening-truth.”
Furthermore, in a crime investigation, it is illegal to interfere with evidence involved with a case. Any disruption or corruption of evidence is termed “falsifying evidence.” This is a serious offence because it could seriously disturb the process of solving a crime. Devoid...
Cited: O 'Brien, Tim. The Things They Carried: A Work of Fiction. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1990. Print.
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