Krajek points out that what she took from OBriens lecture was the fact that a fiction author can help the reader connect with the story in reality, even if the story is not true. “His lectures overarching message illustrated his belief that fiction, while a product of a novelists imagination and not true in the literal sense, gets closer to the meaning of emotional and spiritual truth” (Krajek, 2009).
The Things They Carried is a fictional story, but it is written by a man who experienced a war and though the men OBrien talks about in the story are purely fictional, OBrien is clearly basing these stories and the characters on men he served with. At some point in his 2004 lecture, OBrien explains that imagination plays a role in how well a soldier sometimes accepts the truth of what has happened. It may become difficult to separate what happened to what seemed to have happened, OBrien explained.
Tim OBriens the Things They Carried is very simply written, but his descriptions allow the reader to identify with each character and even though the characters are fictional, it is clear that OBrien has been in a place similar to what he is describing in his book. The simplicity of the story allows the reader to clearly understand what OBrien is talking about and so the reader does not lose interest quickly, as he or she might while reading other war stories.
Both men and women tend to find OBriens account of Vietnam fascinating and interesting and all can see the deeper meaning in the book, particularly in chapter one.
As humans, we tend to carry material items with us, which represent our emotional sensibilities. A mother may carry a locket with her childs hair and a picture of her grandmother, a child may carry her favorite doll. These individuals are no different than a soldier being terrified of the war hes in and carrying so much additional ammunition that he himself falls hard, like a bullet, when hes shot in the head. Lavender may not have been a real character, but he and the other characters described in OBriens account of Vietnam represent soldiers in every war.
Krajeck, Amy. “The Things They [All] Carried: Discovering Theme through Imagined Stories of Votive Offerings.” English Journal 99.2 (2009): 42. ProQuest. Web. 18.