“How to Tell a True War Story” was first published in “Esquire” in October, 1987. Later it became the main story of the Tim O’Brien’s book “The Things They Carried”. Tim O’Brien’s endeavors to describe the war how it really is, are marked by both success and failure, as despite his presence in the Vietnam War, he adds too much fiction to his works which make some scenes sound a little bit unreal.
I find it very interesting that the way the author thinks about the war and society: He says that the things done and said at the war cannot be taken into consideration when analyzing the whole society. Rat Kiley, the main character, possesses the features of both a polite citizen and a vulgar soldier shocking me with the language he uses. Kiley reveals his intimate thoughts on the war showing that it has a great impact on the life of each soldier turning them into aggressive people. The author is preoccupied with depiction of as truthful as possible situations at the Vietnam War. O’Brien does not generalize his descriptions but lets us see the detailed horrors of the war.
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The depiction of the changes of the body impressed me the most. A lot of soldiers are mutilated during the battles; they see their friends being torn apart and shot: The death of Curt Lemon is described with the most horrible details. O’Brien tells that a true story of the war makes even your stomach to believe in it.
In conclusion, I would like to add that that Tim O’Brien’s ability to outline the real horrors of the war should stimulate people to do everything possible to avoid it in any way. Political passiveness and fighting for peace should not be the triggers of killing a lot of people in a rude way and changing the lives of their families forever.