How to Tell a True War Story

How to Tell a True War Story
History – is one of the most important forms of self-consciousness of people. Most modern politicians and economists seek to take advantage of experience of history, therefore, in the interpretation of certain historical events can be observed an ongoing struggle of different ideas and
opinions.

Relevance of the study of historical consciousness is dictated by the fact that it has great potential power. On the one hand, can raise the level of patriotism, pride in their country, on the other hand can lead to negative attitudes towards their state.
The past - is not just what was, thus, the role of the past in the present is clearly palpable. Understanding of the role of the past for the present is important because it lies at the heart of social memory that forms the cultural and historical identity. Especially important is the right understanding of war. When nowadays we see so many world conflicts and wars, including the war in Iraq, that may be people should make some efforts and fight for peace? American nation can really do this, as we can see from our history. In the 1960’s people actively were fighting against war in Vietnam, and this struggle wasn’t useless.
But the question is that people don’t know the all the truth about war: only some facts, some points of view – but are these evident true?

Let us remember the words by O’Briens, who wrote: “A true war story is never moral. It does not instruct, nor encourage virtue, nor suggest models of proper human behavior, nor restrain men from doing the things men have always done. If a story seems moral, do not believe it. If at the end of a war story you feel uplifted, or if you feel that some small bit of rectitude has been salvaged from the larger waste, then you have been made the victim of a very old and terrible lie. There is no rectitude whatsoever. There is no virtue. As a first rule of thumb, therefore, you can tell a true war story by its absolute and uncompromising allegiance to obscenity and evil”. (O'Brien 1990)

O’Brien in his work “The Things They Carried” tries to shows the complexities and contradictions of war, because people are unwilling to see and know the reality, as well as to listen to the true stories. The author provides some reasons for that: first of all, people are just don’t want to do that; the second reason is that people are just unable to understand that; and the third reason is that government and mass media just do not let people know the truth. All these reasons lead to the fact that war stories are told in different interpretations and so that people just have misconception about the war, do not know what actually happens.

The popularity of mass media, like internet, newspapers and journals shows that most people like to be mislead about the reality, they prefer to hear rumors, somebody’s points of view, interpreted information – but not the true facts. That is the evidence of modern world of mass thinking and mass delusion.
That point of view have also C. Calloway, who in his work “How to tell a true war story: Metafiction in “The Things They Carried” speaks on the same topic as T. O’Briens.

Tim O.Bien writes: “The truths are contradictory. It can be argued, for instance, that war is grotesque. But in truth war is also beauty. For all its horror, you can't help but gape at the awful majesty of combat”. (O'Brien 1990)

Calloway agrees with this point of view, adding that: “War is hell, war is also a mystery, and horror, and adventure and courage, and discovery, and holiness, and pity, and despair, desire, and life”. (Calloway 1995)

Tim O’Brien in his work also writes: “To generalize about war is like generalizing about peace. Almost everything is true. Almost nothing is true”. (O'Brien 1990)
The author means that the truth is contradictory: some people can, for example, argue that war is absurd, but to generalize about war is like to generalize about the peace.

Unfortunately, the truthful answers we still do not know. Therefore, the search for them is continuing for several decades, which brings together politicians, historians, war veterans, writers and journalists. Proponents of the official version believe that clarify and restore the true military history not necessary and that everything is already known. This concept is unacceptable, because people can not build the future on lie. While the society is not cleared of wickedness, it will suffer from the lack of spirituality and nihilism. It seems that the authorities are not interested in the fact that people know the truth, and the support of myths is dictated by the desire to evade responsibility for the deaths of millions of people, moreover, the best people. There are no wars without victims, and it would be wrong to assume these sacrifices in vain.

Works cited:

C. Calloway. “How to tell a true war story: Metafiction in “The Things They Carried”. Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction , Vol. 36,, June, 1995, pp 249
T. O'Brien. “The Things They Carried”. New York, 1990, pp.84-91

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