According to Steven Kaplan, “The Vietnam war was in many ways a wild and terrible work of fiction written by some dangerous and frightening storytellers” (42) O’Brien was injured in an explosion during the war where he was then confined to an office job, with having this job he had plenty of time to reminisce on the war and the tragedies following it. It was such a terrible thing to imagine, therefore he made the people fictional as well as some of the actions but it will still have a powerful meaning without telling exactly what happened. “The Things They Carried” describes his personal experience in the Vietnam War and allows him to give his opinions on the war. Tim O’Brien enters the war as an incredibly frightened young man terrified of the shame that hiding from the war would bring and ends up concluding the war a very guilty and it continues to follow him the rest of his life where he then begins to tell stories of Vietnam in order to cope and deal with the constant painful memories following the War. O’Brien reenacts many of his memories throughout the story but ...
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...but that nonetheless help to clarify and explain.” (Wells) This passage shows the guilt O’Brien felt after the death of the little boy and how he still portrayed it to be fictional and catch the reader’s attention. When writing fiction it hides the feelings of pointlessness and anguish after the war by telling a story.
Not every reader will agree that this book is fictional, rather than non-fictional, due to its graphic nature. This is why “The Things They Carried” is such a beautifully descriptive book on how the soldiers and Tim O’Brien felt under the terrifying circumstances. Writing in fiction takes away from that deep attachment of growing feelings for an individual and becomes very therapeutic. Tim O’Brien continued to write fictional war stories because it became such a passion for him and helped him cope and remanence on the past without becoming too hurt.
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