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The Accident, Say Yes, & The Things They Carried: Comparison


The art of literature is many-faceted thing full of expressive stories and means with which they are illustrated. The characters can be compared and evaluated with an author’s own experience in terms of his main idea implemented into text. The culture of reading is needful for every human being because books are a tool which shows some hidden truth of the reality which takes place everywhere in this world. Moreover, some points on the realization and recognition of this are that aspects of life are better understood due to the writer’s techniques striving to describe things in detail touching upon a man’s soul.

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The art of short story writing is a special sphere in literature tending to encompass the entire features and wholeness of complex phenomena in a man’s life with the help of literary “few words”. It is necessary for short-story writers to designate and put to a reader a paramount idea which intends usually to think it over after having read a definite storey. Three readings under analysis impress by their appropriate manner of narration and things which are so familiar and discussed in the American society. These are the stories by Tim O’Brien, “The Things They Carried”; Gao Xingjian, “The Accident”; and Tobias Wolff, “Say Yes”.

Tim O’Brien “The Things They Carried”

Tim O’Brien is known for his novels about Vietnam. The writer had experienced the burden of serving in Vietnam and had at that time his own concrete opinion on what could have been admitted under the conditions of war. His fiction stories create the field for better reasoning about points on humanity and peace. Also in his short storey he points out the truth of Vietnamese reality and bloody pictures of that war based on political controversies in the world of that time. The most suffered were ordinary American soldiers and peaceful population of Vietnam. The author notes that only humane attitude and trust can help in scrutiny. The storey is rather far in its content and title which it possesses. The understanding of it applies to the thematic coloring of the story. Especially, it concerns a description when simple Vietnamese girl and her grandfather helped to cross the minefield so that nobody came to harm

They carried all the emotional baggage of men who might die. Grief, terror, love, longing–these were intangibles, but the intangibles had their own mass and specific gravity, they had tangible weight. They carried shameful memories. They carried the common secret of cowardice… Men killed, and died, because they were embarrassed not to. (Charters 996)

T. Wolf’s “Say Yes”

Connecting this storey with another one written by T. Wolf the prospects of racial agreement appear few times in the text, so that to illustrate that color of skin does not point out more or less amount of humanness. The thing is that Tim O’Brien demonstrates the inner feelings of his characters throughout the view of their background and further development of their lives.

Though, Tobias Wolf in his storey depicts an example of love which needs elaborating under the conditions of multicultural and multi-racial society. This issue urges against racial discrimination between man and woman. The idea of the story is not merely surprising and tells about long-lasting problematic approach on the question whether love exists between people of different color of skin? The title of the story is a probable response towards Ann’s, one of the main characters, answer, namely: “…I’m black, but still me, and we fall in love. Will you marry me?” (Charter 1357) Love is above all, especially such social contradictions. Love is entire and needs more attention in the extent of soul matters and emotional flow. The author tries to assure a reader in the fact that love is entire and everlasting due to people making it alive notwithstanding their external features.

Gao Xingjian “The Accident”

Gao Xingjian is the third author in this paper who imposes in his story an ordinary example of accident. The idea which he hangs up concerns the extent of harmful effect of a man’s tongue. The thing is that when one only speaks without acting he prevents others from rendering direct assistance. As Shakespeare once entitled one of his genuine works “Much Ado about nothing”, so the crowd is compared with such useless mass of people. One man within the crowd straightforwardly objects: “If you don’t know what happened, then don’t talk crap.” (Charters 1379) Furthermore, the short story quite looks like an article in a definite newspaper observing terrific events in a big city where misfortune is obvious and seems to be spontaneous for everyone. The extent of life is rather highly raised in the story due to the personal conclusion of the writer. One man in the story fairly outlines a banal statement about people’s life and its failure saying: “It’s hard to protect yourself against that kind of thing—it’s all determined by fate.” (Charters 1378) The author sees the “accident” as a part of life’s philosophy, but with direct glimpses on the reality. “And there is no need for us to turn life’s traffic accidents into statistics—that’s a job for the traffic-safety department.” (Charters 1381)

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Thus, all three storeys are dedicated different problems of social and moral character. Their ideas run somehow each other, but the implementation of every story possesses strictly individual character in terms of their evaluation and further overviewing in everyday life.

Works cited

Charters, Ann. The Story and Its Writer: An Introduction to Short Fiction. Ed. 7 Bedford Books of St. Martin’s Press, 2006.

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StudyCorgi. "The Accident, Say Yes, & The Things They Carried: Comparison." November 8, 2021.


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StudyCorgi. (2021) 'The Accident, Say Yes, & The Things They Carried: Comparison'. 8 November.

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