How to Tell a True War Story Essay

1625 Words Oct 23rd, 2011 7 Pages
Nyameer Puok
Essay 2
Section 01B
How to Tell a True War Story
We have all heard the stories that our parents tell in order to prove a point. One example is the “I walked 10 miles over snowy hills to get to school” or one of my favorites, “If your friends jumped off a cliff, would you?” These stories or statements try to convey a truth. The only problem is that while a parent sees it one way, his or her child does not. Even if the parent had walked to school 10 miles over hills every day in snow or god-forbid had friends who jumped off cliffs, his or her child may not have the same experience. In short, a relationship to an experience affects what truth is seen by the listener and storyteller. In Tim O’Brien’s “How to Tell a True War
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O’Brien claims that everything that he is saying is true and without opinion. Digging further into the essay, O’Brien contradicts this statement by saying, “Somebody tells a story, let’s say, and afterward you ask, Is it true? and if the answer matters, you’ve got your answer” (83). This can alter the reality of an experience.
Altering reality can either support or hurt a truth. When Mitchell Sanders explains to the narrator about the noise that other soldiers experienced, Sanders tries to convey the sense of urgency of knowing what he is saying is true: “ Sanders made a sound in his throat, like a sigh, as if to say he didn’t care if I believed him or not. But he did care. He wanted me to feel the truth, to believe by the raw force of feeling” (74). This urgency for the understanding of truth is later contradicted when Sanders confesses to making a few things up in his story (77). These opposites of truth are also conveyed by O’Brien when he claims, “Almost everything is true. Almost nothing is true” (81). The truth is often in the hands of the beholder. It cannot be forced nor can it be fabricated. It is strictly dependent on the experience.
Going back to the relationship of truth, I can confidently claim that O’Brien is correct. The truth is always altered by perspective. I can remember a time where my truth wasn’t seen.
In high school, I was enthralled by anything that had to do with music. I have been playing the saxophone since

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