How Tim O'brien writes

How Tim O'brien writes - How Tim OBriens life affects his...

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How Tim O’Brien’s life affects his books In The Things They Carried Tim O’Brien writes about the life and war experiences of a narrator named Tim O’Brien; however, this character is not the same as the author. The book is not an autobiography —If I Die in a Combat Zone, Box Me Up and Ship Me Home is his autobiography, but since the characters in The Things They Carried seem so real, a reader still wonders if the characters are based on Tim O’Brien’s fellow soldiers or even based on himself. This paper examines the life and beliefs of Tim O’Brien, the author, and how they affected The Things They Carried. Tim O’Brien’s past affects his beliefs and how he puts those beliefs into writing. Tobey C. Herzog states in his book Tim O’Brien , in this case from Herzog’s interview with O’Brien, that O’Brien said, “Everything that I am doing flows out of the life I have led” (3). His life was for the most part a typical all-American, small-town childhood (Herzog 4). Even so, war stories he heard them from his father, other veterans, plots of comic books and movies, and the local military surplus store greatly influenced his life and fantasies as a kid (Herzog 6). His family’s value of books and conversations about significant issues, ideas, and current events at dinner helped make his family more liberal than their conservative town (Herzog 6-7). Another influence on his writing was his alcoholic father whom O’Brien felt he could never please (Herzog 9). According to Herzog, his college, Macalaster, also influenced him helping him discover his passive liberal attitude; he was against violent protests of the war but was also against the war (11). One action he took was campaigning for McCarthy, the only candidate to take a political stand opposing the war (Herzog 11-12). His liberal beliefs in college and from his family affected how he wrote The Things They Carried . D’Amore’s "Every question leads to the next":
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an interview with Tim O'Brien.(Interview) states that he believes the temperament and past that is carried to war affects which thoughts are brought back from the war (par 16). The Things They Carried is a liberal book because he writes expressing his beliefs of the cruelty of war and because of how he perceived the war. He shows how the war desensitizes, like when Azar blew up Ted’s puppy and said he was ‘just a boy” (37). He writes to show us and make us feel what the characters feel. One of the major influences Tim O’Brien’s life had on his book is seen in his characters. A lot of them are based on some experience he had in his life before or during Vietnam. One character that makes sense to be similar to O’Brien is Tim O’Brien the narrator, who from this point on will be referred to as Tim. Another character that is unexpectedly related to O’Brien is Norman Bowker. In
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How Tim O'brien writes - How Tim OBriens life affects his...

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