How to Tell a True War Story Summary & Study Guide

Tim O'Brien
This Study Guide consists of approximately 34 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of How to Tell a True War Story.
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"How to Tell a True War Story" is not a story in the traditional sense. It does not follow a straight, chronological path from start to finish. Rather, it is a collection of small stories interspersed with instructions about "true" war stories.

The story opens with the words, "This is true." The narrator then goes on to tell the story of his friend Rat Kiley, who writes a letter to the sister of his buddy who had been killed a week earlier. It is a long, heartfelt letter. He waits for two months for a reply to the letter, but the sister never writes back.

The story then shifts to commentary. "A true war story is never moral," the narrator instructs. The narrator asks the reader to "listen to Rat" as he spews obscenity, as, according to the narrator, a true war story is committed to "obscenity and...

(read more from the Plot Summary section)

This section contains 890 words
(approx. 3 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.