Tim O'Brien Writing Styles in How to Tell a True War Story

Tim O'Brien
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Point of View and Narration

One of the most interesting, and perhaps troubling, aspects of the construction of "How to Tell a True War Story" is O'Brien's choice to create a fictional, first-person narrator who also carries the name "Tim O'Brien." Although the narrator remains unnamed in this particular story, other stories in the collection clearly identify the narrator by the name Tim. Further, the other stories in the collection also identify the narrator as a forty-three-year-old writer who writes about the Vietnam War, ever more closely identifying the narrator with the author.

On the one hand, this connection is very compelling. Readers are drawn into the story believing that they are reading something that has some basis in the truth of the writer Tim O'Brien. Further, the authorial voice that links the story fragments together sounds like it ought to belong to the writer.

On the other hand...

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This section contains 713 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the How to Tell a True War Story Study Guide
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Short Stories for Students
How to Tell a True War Story from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.