Fact or Fiction?

So, The Things They Carried, written by Tim O’Brien, I originally believed to be more non-fiction than fiction. Even after reading the book all the way through it still seemed so real. However, after watching an interview O’Brien gave about the novel, I now have to change my stance. The Things They Carried is a work of fiction based around the world O’Brien once knew. The key word O’Brien used was “based on”. Although he added bits of memories into his novel, he also spun fictional stories into the novel as well. I never thought about the book being mostly fiction, but O’Brien himself says that he “…’wanted to write a work of fiction that would feel to the reader as if this had occurred…'”.

Something O’Brien said that I love is that his goal in writing is to “… capture the heart and the stomach and the back of the throat of readers who can lie in bed at night and participate in a story”. The way O’Brien write, it makes you feel like you’re part of the story. The Things They Carried is written to drag you into the war with the characters. The story makes you understand more of what the soldiers in Vietnam went through. He writes about the war how he remembered it. It wasn’t heroic, it wasn’t glorious. It was war, it was real, and it was hell.

O’Brien, Tim. “Looking Back at the Vietnam War with Author, Veteran Tim O’Brien.” Interview by Jeffrey Brown. PBS Newshour. PBS, 28 Apr. 2010. Web. 30 Oct. 2015.


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