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Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild and Tim O’Brien’s How to Tell War Story Essay

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People try to understand the world through perception of experiences that they encounter. These encounters include either living through the experience first hand or the experience being conveyed by another person. Our perception weeds out main ideas from those experiences deeming them realistic and if so labels them truths. However, our perception of the obtained truth from those experiences is not always credible because as a recipient we are restricted to the amount of experience we can retain. Meaning the perceptions of the labeled truths is a result of our translation of incomplete experiences into new perception resulting from what he or she could retain from the original experience. Those incomplete experiences give rise to new truths, shown in the study of Chris McCandless journey to Alaska, from Jon Krakauer’s “Selections from Into the Wild”. Many argued the motives behind McCandless’ escape from society because readers translated McCandless’ experiences differently due to his journal lacking all of his experiences. Those experiences translated formed a variety of truths but they didn’t convince Krakauer, so he hiked the very mountains McCandless hiked in an attempt to retain the same experiences as McCandless. Krakauer was unsuccessful but during his journey he retained different experiences, and causing him to translate them into new truths. However, those variety of truths all connect to a main idea that allows them to be truths, this is explained in Tim O’Brien’s “How to Tell War Story”. O’Brien observed while trying to retell his war stories that alterations appeared when he was retelling it, but found this doesn’t make the altered stories false because they retained the same basis or idea from the unaltered experien...


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... or her is translated. It is through this relationship that we deduce experiences to understand the truths about the world. Each person’s perception identifies those truths hidden in experiences but because of our point of view we’ll never be able to fully perceive any experience. However, ultimately it’s impossible for an idea to be fully true but our mind labels them true so we are not always confused by what encounters in our daily life. The labeling of truth on ideas is a temporary fix because truth is always changing because we’re always learning new partial truths from missed ideas from experiences. Also by sharing ideas by conveying experiences more truths about a certain experience can be uncovered but we’ll never be able to understand the entire truth.

Works Cited

Krakauer, Jon. “Selections from Into the Wild”

O’Brien, Tim. “How to Tell War Story”


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