How to Tell a True War Story Themes

Tim O'Brien
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Memory and Reminiscence

Because "How to Tell a True War Story" is written by a Vietnam War veteran, and because Tim O'Brien has chosen to create a narrator with the same name as his own, most readers want to believe that the stories O'Brien tells are true and actually happened to him. There are several reasons for this. In the first place, O'Brien's so-called memoir, If I Die In a Combat Zone, contains many stories that find their way into his later novels and short fiction. Thus, it is difficult for the reader to sort through what is memory and what is fiction.

There are those, however, who would suggest that this is one of O'Brien's points in writing his stories. Although most readers would believe that their own memories are "true," this particular story sets out to demonstrate the way that memories are at once true and made...

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This section contains 704 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.