In the introduction of this novel, O’Brien opens with a list of the physical objects like a catalog of what each soldier carries. This reveals characterization and provides explanation of the character’s personal reasoning to carry these objects during the Vietnam war. The main character, Lieutenant Jimmy Cross, carries 4 ounces of letters from Martha. Even though “They were not love letters, but Lieutenant Cross was hoping, so he kept them folded in plastic at the bottom of his rucksack” (1). Lieutenant Cross still carried the “love letters” as a sense of hope for Martha’s love, like Henry Dobbins carried his girlfriend’s pantyhose around his neck for a sense of comfort and luck. A reminder to Dobbins that his companion back home is living in a safe world, where he hopes to return to someday. O’Br...
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... above, but it 's the reliving of the past that is allowing him to accept what has happened.
Then O’Brien states earlier in the novel, “And then afterwards, when you go to tell about it, there is always that surreal seemingness, which makes the story seem untrue, but which in fact represents the hard and exact truth as it seemed” (68). This appears in the chapter “How to Tell a True War Story.” The reader will question honesty but in both chapters O’Brien is displaying his meaning and struggles to write these stories. The readers believe what O’Brien writes but this novel is not non-fiction. He “represents” the truth not giving facts on the truth. This source allows you to make connections of the clues that O’Brien reveals throughout this book. Both chapters gives more information about O’Brien himself and how he thinks and why he writes this story the way he does.
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