Example+of+_A_+Paper - Lose Your Illusion II We create...

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Lose Your Illusion II We create illusions to get to the truth because it is easier to believe what you want to be true. And so, the line between what is true and what is illusory is blurred by our own self-decep- tion. We lie to ourselves because we want to be better than we are, better than we know ourselves to be in reality. We stay up all night when we know we need sleep. We eat more than we know we should. We work ourselves to exhaustion; we take on more than we can bear, and we fail to ask for help when we know we need it. We create myths for ourselves to spare us the humiliation of our own human frailty. We see examples of these myths in Tim O'Brien's “How to Tell a True War Story,” as well as in Jon Krakauer's “Selections from Into the Wild .” In “How to Tell a True War Story,” O'Brien presents us with a fictional account of his experiences in the Vietnam War and, in doing so, creates a myth that allows him to deal with the complexit- ies of war and to make sense of them. Similarly, in “Selections from Into the Wild ,” Krakauer presents us with the story of Christopher McCandless, a man who created a myth of himself in order to discover his own personal truth. Unfortunately, McCandless believed something that he could not know to be true, thereby deceiving himself. That self-deception left him ignorant, un- aware of the real truth, and that ignorance ultimately cost him his life. To be aware of the truth, though, is to be aware of a harsh reality: The truth really only matters to the person telling it. These ideas of awareness and ignorance when it comes to the truth can only be understood when they are both informed by a delicate understanding that can only be gained through the experi- ences of life, as we learn through the visual imagery employed by O'Brien and Krakauer. Certainly, in life a common experience is confusion, but to understand that confusion re- quires that one be aware of his own ignorance. It is difficult to understand everything that hap- pens in our lives, so much so that even in remembering an event it takes on our own inventions.
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O'Brien's narrator puts it thusly: “In any war story, but especially a true one, it's difficult to sep- arate what happened from what seemed to happen. What seems to happen becomes its own hap- pening and has to be told that way” (O'Brien 389). The details we invent become part of the story, which only adds to the confusion, further complicating the truth. O'Brien goes on describe this confusion, assigning it the ethereal quality of a swirling fog: For the common soldier, at least, war has the feel—the spiritual texture of great ghostly fog, thick and permanent. There is no clarity. Everything swirls. [...] Right spills over into wrong. Order blends into chaos, love into hate, ugliness into beauty, law into an- archy, civility into savagery. The vapors suck you in. You can't tell where you are, or why you're there, and the only certainty is overwhelming ambiguity (O'Brien 395). Here, O'Brien describes the obfuscation and moral ambiguity of war as an all-consuming cloud,
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This note was uploaded on 02/18/2011 for the course ENG 101 taught by Professor Sierra during the Spring '08 term at Rutgers.

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Example+of+_A_+Paper - Lose Your Illusion II We create...

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