Friday, December 5, 2014

Fact or Fiction: How to Tell a True War Story

While the book The Things They Carried seems to focus on telling a true war story with extreme detail, near the end Tim O’Brien reveals, “I’m forty-three years old… almost everything else is invented.”(171) This statement forces readers to reevaluate preconceived notions of what makes a story true or believable. In our day-to-day lives we find ourselves relating to fictional characters all the time, the emotions they convey and events they experience. This is due to our ability to empathize with them. Much like in O’Brien’s stories, the details used in TV shows and movies allow the viewers to feel what the character supposedly experienced and relate the character’s situation to their own. This emphasizes O’Brien’s idea that something fake can indeed by truer than something that actually happened. Therefore the key aspects of a story are the details, which serve to convey a larger message and show emotion. As showcased in O’Brien’s short stories it is not always the facts that make a story true but rather its ability to be empathized with.

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