6. “How to Tell a True War Story” passes judgment on the very act of storytelling, and states that there is an authentic way and an inauthentic way of telling war stories. Hence, according to O’Brien a war story is true if it is: a perennial absurdist story, a story that could not possibly have happened, and a story that is not moral. A specific example from the text that is classified as a true war story is that of a wa...
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...re the simple acts of remembering that kept them alive: “That 's what a story does. The bodies are animated. You make the dead talk” (232). This theme of preservation via the medium of stories, which is the primary theme of the novel, is exemplified by story of Linda, in which O 'Brien employs the power of storytelling and memory to keep people alive: “Stories can save us. I 'm forty-three years old, and a writer now, and even still, right here, I keep dreaming Linda alive...They 're all dead. But in a story, which is a kind of dreaming, the dead sometimes smile and sit up and return to the world.”(225). Finally, when Linda proclaims “Timmy, stop crying. It doesn’t matter” she essentially consoles him by saying it doesn 't matter that she 's dead, and that physical death doesn 't mean true death because she still lives not only in his memory but also in his stories.
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