The Things They Carried Chapter 18, Good Form
The narrator explains that he is a forty-three year old writer, who once fought in Vietnam. But almost everything else in the story is fiction. He didn't throw a grenade at a Vietnamese man, but he was there. No, he says, even that story is made up. "I want you to feel what I felt. I want you to know why story-truth is truer sometimes than happening-truth." Chapter 18, pg. 179 He explains that while there were many real dead people in Vietnam, he was afraid to look at them. When he makes up the story of the dead Vietnamese man, he can attach a face to his guilt and pain. That is what stories are for.