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“How to Tell a True War Story” by O’Brien

O’Brien employs an important literary technique, using stories within a large story to give the reader the complete picture of what is happening. These stories can come from different characters and refer to various events. Thanks to this, readers can learn about all the parts of the story, understanding what happened to each participant. However, sometimes, readers cannot fully follow each character’s life, so they have to think out some parts of the picture themselves, which makes reading even more exciting.

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In How to Tell a True War Story, the author shares his memories of the war. He talks not only about what is happening to him but also to his comrades. At the same time, each of these people’s stories is written in the first person so that readers have a better idea of ​​what happened to them. The narrator tells the story of the past, recalling all the horrors of the war. He disapproves of some of his colleagues’ actions, but their stories, told in the first person, allow readers to infer their actions on their own.

O’Brien divides the text into small parts and sometimes jumps around repeating the words “war story.” When a paragraph begins with these words, readers can understand that part of the work has ended and another has begun. Thus, the author moves on to a news story that is connected with other events and people. This allows him to structure the chapter to make it easier for the reader to perceive the new and fix the old in mind (Calloway, 1995). Thus, O’Brien creates a step-by-step description of the war from different sides and tells about the various events. Readers can get the complete picture of them and conclude each participant’s actions and behavior.

Reference

Calloway, C. (1995). ‘How to tell a true war story’: Metafiction in ‘The Things They Carried.’ Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction, 36, pp 249 ff.

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StudyCorgi. "“How to Tell a True War Story” by O’Brien." November 4, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/how-to-tell-a-true-war-story-by-obrien/.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "“How to Tell a True War Story” by O’Brien." November 4, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/how-to-tell-a-true-war-story-by-obrien/.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) '“How to Tell a True War Story” by O’Brien'. 4 November.

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