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SDSU Fernandez Essay 3

SDSU Fernandez Essay 3 - Anthony Baldini Fernandez RWS 100...

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Anthony Baldini Fernandez RWS 100 T/TH 11/13/07 Essay 3: O’Brien’s War Telling a story is typically a way for a lesson or moral to be passed down from generation to generation so that it will always be remembered. Telling a war story, however, is a way for an event to be remembered- to bring the past into the present- without any lesson or reason. In Tom O’Brien’s 1998 fiction short story, “How to Tell a True War Story,” from his collection, The Things They Carried , the qualities of a war story are examined thoroughly by way of O’Brien telling one, a strategy that creates a double analysis that digs deep at the meaning of ‘truth’ in war. Consequently, Doug Anderson’s and Yusef Komunyakaa’s poems, “Infantry Assault” and “Facing It,” respectively, exemplify many of the same qualities of a war story that O’Brien points at in his argument. In this essay, I will proceed to prove an ultimate truth that war is a never-ending event once initiated, and that a true war story never has a lesson behind it, it just is. A war story is either a true account or an elaborate fabrication, plain and simple. Distinguishing the difference between the two, however, is harder than it may seem. Fortunately, however, Tim O’Brien lends a helping hand in “How to Tell a True War Story.” A Purple Heart recipient himself as the result of his service during the Vietnam War, O’Brien retells several stories, some he heard from others and some he supposedly was a part of, to serve as a basis for comparison between fact and fiction. Ironically,
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O’Brien’s entire piece is fiction, but nonetheless he presents it to his audience as non- fiction until he reveals it as a complete counterfeit at the conclusion of his story. O’Brien organizes his piece by creating a cycle in which he states his opinion on the validity of a
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