A Review Of Tim O 'Brien's The Things They Carried'
O’Brien tells the readers the happening-truth, or facts, of what happens in the war. O’Brien explains that he did not actually kill the man in the My Khe. O’Brien remembers “I watched a man die on a trail near the village of My Khe. I did not kill him. But I was present, you see, and my presence was guilt enough,” showing that it did not matter if he kills the man (O’Brien 171). O’Brien feels an overwhelming amount of guilt about that man dying, that he blames it on himself. Sanders, like O’Brien, realizes that his story did not match what truth of the situation is. The day after Sanders tells the story of the chimes and xylophones, he comes to O’Brien saying “I [have] a confession to make... Last night, man, I had to make up a few things… The glee club. There wasn’t any glee club” (O’Brien 73). Sanders lies in his story, because after hearing the noises the six-men patrol attacked the village. This lead to guilt, because later Sanders realizes the real truth is that there is no crazy sounds. The contrast between story-truth and happening-truth gives the readers insight into how war is