The chapter “How To Tell a True War Story” started off when Rat Kiley wrote a note to Curt Lemon’s sister after Curt died. Rat never got a response and was very angry about it because he poured his heart out in the letter, “The dumb Cooze never writes back” (O’Brien 66). O’Brien wrote about everything a true war story should have and should not have, “A true war story never has moral” (O’Brien 65). He then goes on and says it should never leave you uplifted and should never encourage you. After hearing a story from Mitchell Sanders, O’Brien determined that morals of true war stories are, “Like a thread from a cloth, cannot be separated from the story itself” (O’Brien 74). Curt Lemon died after stepping on a booby trap, ” He was playing catch with Rat Kiley, laughing, and then he was dead” (O’Brien 74). Rat took out his anger and frustration out, from both Curt dying and Curt’s sister not writing him back, by shooting a water buffalo numerous amounts of times. O’Brien described the difficulties of telling the truth from the fake in war stories, “Almost everything is true. Almost nothing it true” (O’Brien 77). Lastly, after telling his story a woman came up and told O’Brien that it made her sad and he should find new stories to tell. He wished that he didn’t have to tell sad stories but it’s not sad to him, “It was a love story” (O’Brien 81).
Purpose Paragraph #1:
Option #2: Tim O’Brien’s purpose in “How to Tell a True War Story” is to persuade others to oppose war.
In “How to Tell a True War Story”, Tim O’Brien described true war stories to persuade others to oppose war. The disturbing story of how Curt Lemon was killed showed the horror of war, “There is no rectitude whatsoever” (O’Brien 65). O’Brien claimed you can tell if a war story is true if it embarrasses you. Using vivid details and making the story personal makes the reader understand how terrible war actually is, making them embarrassed and oppose it. O’Brien claimed, “It does not instruct, nor encourage virtue, nor suggest models of proper human behavior” (O’Brien 65). According to O’Brien, no human should ever act the way they acted in war. The actions taken during war are usually inhumane and are terrible actions that should never be taken. O’Brien wrote, “If a story seems moral, do not believe it” (O’Brien 65). He really emphasized the inhumane actions to prove how terrible war actually is and why people should oppose war.
Purpose Paragraph #2:
Tim O’Brien used literary devices in the chapter “How to Tell a True War Story” to persuade people to oppose war. Imagery is used by O’Brien to put a vivid scene in the reader’s head. It allows the reader to virtually experience the traumatic experiences the men in the war went through. To achieve the imagery experience, O’Brien used descriptive and detailed explanations of what occurred such as, “Then he took a peculiar half step, moving from shade into bright sunlight, and the booby-trapped 105 round blew him into a tree. The parts were just hanging there” (O’Brien 79). The specific details put a disturbing image in the reader’s head allowing them to almost witness it. O’Brien also uses similes in “How to Tell a True War Story”. When describing what a true war story should have, O’Brien states, “In a true war story, if there’s a moral at all, it’s like the thread that makes the cloth” (O’Brien 74). He states you cannot take the moral out of the story because it’s the main piece of the story. If you take it out of the story it unwraps a deeper meaning. Using these literary devices, O’Brien persuades people to oppose the war.