Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried Research Paper

Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried - Research Paper Example The ambiguity of Tim’s dubious first person narration along with epistemological uncertainties that the narrator’s storytelling raises rather force the readers to rely more and more on the narrator as a guide through the atrocities and cruelties of war as per what to go and view the massacre and where not to. Therefore Tim’s as a narrator exploits the opportunity of being dubious to the readers just to warn them how storytelling can cheat their eyes. Referring to this epistemological uncertainty that the stories render Catherine Callaway comments as following: â€Å"The epistemological ambivalence of the stories in the Things They Carried is reinforced the book’s ambiguity of style and structure† (250) The narrator Tim himself along with his ambiguity renders the narrative an apparently believable continuity between the episodes of the novel, and hereby, sustains a progress, though little about the war, much about the spiritual progress. That is, th e narrator relates more of a spiritual journey than a military one. The surface level expectation, of the readers, that the novel tells the story of a war, is fulfilled through Tim’s effort to let the readers feel the immediate experience of war standing close to the battleground. Yet the war progresses little through these episodes. Rather the tantalizing meaning of the war continually gets developed through the elegiac continuity which exists among the episodes. The narrator, Tim O’Brien himself sits at the center of this continuity as a medium that links between the episodes. His role is more of a spiritual agent who symbolizes the progress, not of the war, but the war’s meaning or reality. Though the episodes of the narrative are not chronologically sequenced and not exclusively military-progress specific, an intangible progress prevails throughout these episodes. Being threatened and subsequently being provoked by the ambiguity and dubiousness of Timâ€℠¢s narrative techniques the readers’ attempts to muster the meaning from these episodic pictures necessarily gives birth to this meaning that war is not something conventionally assumed by the most. The stories told in twenty-two chapters of the novel â€Å"range from several lines to many pages and demonstrate well the impossibilities of knowing the realities of war† (Callaway 251). Sometimes the stories abruptly stop only â€Å"to be continued pages or chapters later† (Callaway 252). Often some stories are told by several characters part by part or randomly. Yet the validity of some stories can be questioned from the very beginning though they are told as if they are true. Referring to the possible motif behind this random fashion of storytelling Callaway comments: O’Brien draws the reader into the text, calling the reader’s attention to the process of invention and challenging him to determine which, if any, of the stories are true. As a result, the stories become epistemological tools, multidimensional windows through which the war, the world, and the way of telling a war story can be viewed from many different angles and visions. (Callaway 253) The episodes narrated by Tim serve as a set of catalysts that raise the epistemological uncertainties about the conventional perception of war. Tim recounts his experiences about the war and oft-repeatedly comments on them. He tells the story of the war when it

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