What Makes the Things They Carried a Story

Topics: Fiction, Character, Novel Pages: 4 (1448 words) Published: April 10, 2011
Tim O'Brien has created a unique novel in The Things They Carried by using styles, such as changing points of view, "clashing the boundaries between truth and fiction" , and use of repetition for effect. Tim O'Brien creates a one of a kind storyline in the novel “The Things They Carried”. Style is how an author tells a story, and O'Brien demonstrates his style throughout the novel. One of O'Brien many styles is his presentation of certain chapters as the author and also a solider named Tim O'Brien, his fictional character. He also changes points of view, he blurs the borders between truth and fiction" (Colella 23) His frequent use of repetition for effect creates a greater emotional ground. In The Things They Carried, Tim O'Brien has used his own experiences in Vietnam with his imagination to bind together a series of short stories. These styles are key features of the novel. One of O'Briens styles is to present a certain chapter as the author Tim O'Brien, and to present others as his fictional character, also named "Tim O'Brien". This gives way to the elements within the story. (Heritage Dictionary 327). O'Brien's style is "one marked by examining an event from a distance," either spatially or temporally, and the creation of "O'Brien" allows for this distance (Colella 79). O'Brien himself is the main character. "he demonstrates in fiction what he does in real life, writing stories about the past to better understand it" (Wesley 4). O'Brien's fictionalized character is a former "foot soldier in the Vietnam War, a member of Alpha Company", and a Vietnam veteran recounting his experiences from the war (O'Brien 15) . The purpose of the fictional character is to tell of the tragedy of war O'Brien created this imitation of himself in the novel to serve as the eyes and ears of the reader. The reader follows "O'Brien" around Vietnam, "experiencing his fear, guilt, curiosity, and blood lust" (Everett 47). Many times the stories are meant to evoke...

Cited: O 'Brien, Tim. The Things They Carried. New York: Houghton Mufflin, 1990
Colella, Jim. The Things They Carried: SN. New York: Basic, 2000
Wesley, Marilyn. " Truth and Fiction in Tim O 'Brien 's If I Die in a Combat Zone and The
Things They Carried". Chicago: Oxford, 1995
Dye, Jones "Themes, Motifs, and Symbols." Spark Notes. 2000. July 2. 1996 http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/thingstheycarried/themes.html
Everett, James. Vietnam. Literature by Tim O 'Brien. New York: Oxford, 2002
Bradley, John. Tim O 'Brien: A Soldier and a writer. Chicago: Scholastic, 1999
MacDonald, Charles. The Things They Carried: Literary Techniques. Ithaca: Foxton, 2003
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