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The Things They Carried

Tim O’Brien

Key Questions and Answers

Summary Key Questions and Answers
What point does O’Brien make about stories and truth?

O’Brien believes that “story-truth is truer sometimes than happening-truth.” He says this in the chapter “Good Form,” in which he admits that most of The Things They Carried, which reads like nonfiction, is invented, and yet still communicates the subjective truth of the war. O’Brien uses fiction to demonstrate the unreal nature of war and the fact that during the Vietnam War “[c]ertain blood was being shed for uncertain reasons . . . [t]he very facts were shrouded in uncertainty.”