Theme Of Imagination In The Things They Carried

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The human capacity for imagination, not only shapes our minds, but also helps coping with reality. Imagination creates stories that help the mind try to understand events in life. It is at first an escape from life, but also a way to reconcile with reality. In the end, what is imagined becomes truer than the real truth. According to Patrick Smith in Tim O’Brien: A Critical Companion, “Imagination is the beginning of telling of stories, which also becomes a lifeline, a way of coping…” (101). In The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien, the imagination contributes to the storytelling of the Vietnam War by the narrator. O’Brien deals with the concept of the imagination through stories that are surreal and ambiguous in communicating the truth of the Vietnam War. There is uncertainty on every story that is told in the book. In every story there is a retelling of an event. It is as if by retelling, the full truth can be found. Although O’Brien mentions that the stories are real, he also reminds the reader that they are all made up. For example in “How to Write a True War story”, before telling…show more content…
The imagination leads to storytelling that portrays a certain truth in something that is unperceivable from the beginning. The theme of imagination used by Tim O’Brien in The Things They Carried, allows an exploration on the uncertainties in war. The stories are told and retold to emphasize on the aftereffects veterans of the war went through and for the reader to understand experiences that will personally not happen to them. In an interview with Martin Naparsteck, O”Brien mentions that exercising the imagination is the main way of finding truth…” and “your imagination is going to do things with” an “experience to render it into something that you can deal with and that has meaning to it” (CLC 137). It requires a great imagination to create stories that land between fiction and the
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