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How to Tell a True War Story Vs. Soldier's Home

Essay by review  •  March 26, 2011  •  Essay  •  745 Words (3 Pages)  •  2,027 Views

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Many authors have written war stories and about the effects of war on a person. Two of these writers are Tim O'Brian and Ernest Hemingway. O'Brian wrote "How to Tell a True War Story"; and Hemingway wrote a short story called "Soldier's Home". Both of these stories illustrate to the reader just what war can do to an average person and what, during war, made the person change. The stories are alike in many respects due to the fact that both authors served time in the army; O'Brian in the Vietnam War and Hemingway in WWI. However, the stories do have differences due to the slightly different themes and also the different writing techniques of the authors.

The stories are alike more than different because they both involve young men going to war and having to face the atrocities war. In "Soldier's Home", Krebs lies and embellishes so much that after his return home it makes him sick to lie. This theme is backed up by O'Brian's story when he says that in order to make a war story believable to the general population, one must lie and stretch the truth. Krebs often tells his war stories with the other old veterans at the poolroom. O'Brian also likes to tell others about his experiences so they can get a better idea of what war is really like. Hemingway tells the reader in his story that people did not want to hear the stories Krebs had to tell; while O'Brian states that war stories are about people who never listen. One recurring idea in both stories is the fact that soldiers want to do what they like and nothing else. This is portrayed in "Soldier's Home" through Krebs who does nothing but pleasurable things throughout his entire day with no regard to getting a job or making money. In "How to Tell a True War Story", O'Brian states that while lying in a fox hole in a battle zone, a soldier will "ache for a perfect world, the way things could be" (pg.481). When Krebs returns home he is very blunt and truthful about answers he gives with no regard to how he might make others feel. This theme is also present in O'Brian's story when Rat Kiley calls the girl a "cooze" instead of "woman" or "girl." Obviously, each of the author's time spent in the army influenced their writing and the themes they use; because the ideas and concepts in each story are not far off from one another.

However, there are noticeable differences the reader can observe



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