Analysis Of How To Tell A True War Story

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How to Tell a True War Story Analysis Tim O’Brien’s sixth chapter, “How to Tell a True War Story”, is an analysis of different stories Obrien shares of the Vietnam War. Throughout the chapter, Obrien provides three anecdotes from the war and details what a true war story is. He tells the stories from the role of a soldier, and explains the machinations of a true war story from the role of a storyteller. In each story, O’Brien emphasizes the truth. Whether he directly tells the reader, or a character within the story highlights it, he pressures the reader to believe that each story is true. Though he puts emphasis on the absolute truth of war stories, the meaning behind them is what matters. The meaning behind each story demonstrates a different …show more content…
The six men are sent to listen for enemy movement in the mountains for a week, but instead of enemy movement, they start hearing strange noises coming from inanimate places such as the fog. After the men cannot cope with the noises anymore, they call in airstrikes and burn all of the mountains. The men still hear the noises after the barrage; so they march back to camp and are questioned abut the airstrike by the colonel. However, instead of answering, they give the colonel a blank stare and salute him. In this story, the colonel is the figure that does not listen. The blank stare the soldiers give the colonel represents the madness that war brings. While on the listening patrol, the soldiers lose touch with reality and hear imaginary noises. “The rock-it’s talking. And the fog, too, and the grass and the goddamn mongooses. Everything talks. The tress talk politics, the monkeys talk religion. The whole country. Vietnam. The place talks. It talks. Understand? Nam-it truly talks”(74). The men believe that all of Vietnam is talking to them as a result of madness from the war. Another source of the madness is through the lack of contact they have with each other. The soldiers are under strict field discipline not to talk and are far away from camp, which leads to progressive madness. Sanders makes and effort to get O’Brien and the reader to believe the story. He constantly insists that the story is true and cares if O’Brien does not believe it. Sanders later confesses to O’Brien that some of the story was made up, but it does not detract from the meaning. Regardless if Sanders made up some parts of the story, the message that war causes madness is apparent to the reader after the soldiers cannot explain to the colonel why they requested the air

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