Sei sulla pagina 1di 5

Donlon 1 Erin Donlon Comp 101 Prof.

Dzielawa 8 February 2014 No Truth to the Story A true war story can ne er be fully tol!. A war story can be written base! off of "ust t#e facts but t#at won$t necessarily be completely true. A sol!ier can tell #is e%periences of war& but t#at also won$t be w#olly true& eit#er. 'o matter w#at& a piece will be missin() t#e story will ne er satisfy. *n +im ,$-rien$s article ./ow to +ell a +rue 0ar 1tory&2 ,$-rien (oes t#rou(# #is rules to tell a true war story& but #is rules ten! to contra!ict one anot#er an! can pro e impossible to follow. /e states t#at a true war story must be embarrassin(& unbelie able& an! unen!in( w#ile also bein( comfortin(& cre!ible& an! fleetin(. +#e rea!er learns t#at t#ere are lar(e !ifferences between w#at most people t#in3 of as a war story wit# #eroism an! coura(e an! w#at is #onest about #ow t#e sol!iers !eal wit# t#e #orrors of war. /e claims t#at t#ere is no way to tell a true war story& as t#ere is no way to truly e%plain all t#ere is to war an! its many comple%ities. 0ar ten!s to mean !ifferent t#in(s to !ifferent people& an! in e ery war story people can fin! t#eir own trut#s. 1ome of ,$-rien$s rules are t#at a true war story cannot be belie e! an! t#at it also !oes not (eneralize. ,ne of t#e most pre alent rules& t#ou(#& is .a true war story is ne er moral2 415. /e later (oes on to say t#at t#ere can be morals to a war story& but t#ey will e entually become ne(ate! by t#e nee! to fin! a !eeper meanin( to t#e story an! t#e o erall moral. 6itc#ell 1an!ers& a c#aracter in t#e stories& sai!& .in a true war story& if t#ere$s a moral at all it$s li3e t#e t#rea! t#at ma3es t#e clot#. 7ou can$t tease it out. 7ou can$t e%tract t#e meanin( wit#out

Donlon 2 unra elin( t#e !eeper meanin(2 485. +#e meanin( be#in! t#at statement was t#at if t#e rea!er is loo3in( for "ust one t#in( to !efine a true war story& t#ey cannot. +#e moral is as stuc3 in t#e story as a t#rea! is stuc3 in clot#. *t is true t#at people !o try to fin! reasonin( in e ery point of life because no one wants to li e in a worl! w#ere terrible t#in(s #appen for no reason& but t#e aut#or su((ests t#at t#ere is no moral or (oo! t#at comes out of war an! t#at tryin( to fin! somet#in( li3e t#at in a war story is futile. ,ne t#in( t#at is e%pecte! out of a war story is t#at t#e sol!iers will always be t#e prota(onists) t#at t#ey can !o no wron( an! t#ey will always be t#e #eroes. ,$-rien woul! li3e you to reconsi!er t#at assumption. Consi!er 9at :iley& a spun3y youn( sol!ier w#o most en"oys #is comic boo3s an! (oofin( off wit# #is best frien!& Curt ;emon. +#at is until Curt ;emon steps on a lan! mine an! !ies. +#e (reatest e%ample of 9at$s moral !ecline is #is e%perience wit# t#e baby water buffalo. ,ne !ay w#en t#e men are #umpin( t#rou(# t#e "un(le t#ey come upon a baby water buffalo. *mme!iately curious& 9at (oes up to t#e buffalo an! offers it one of #is rations. 0#en t#e water buffalo !oesn$t seem intereste!& #e s#oots t#rou(# one of its 3nees. +#e water buffalo !oesn$t ma3e a soun! an! mana(es to (et bac3 up& only for 9at to s#oot it$s ear off an! continue to torture t#e poor& innocent animal. All t#e w#ile t#e rest of t#e s<ua! was "ust stan!in( t#ere watc#in( t#is #appen. .+#e w#ole platoon stoo! t#ere watc#in(& feelin( all 3in!s of t#in(s& but t#ere wasn$t a (reat !eal of pity for t#e baby water buffalo. ;emon was !ea!2 485& wrote ,$-rien on witnessin( t#e torture #appen. +#is (oes to s#ow t#at society$s perception of t#e (reat #eroic sol!ier may not be all t#ey really concei e it to be. 7es& sol!iers !o put t#eir li es on t#e line to (o to war& but t#e e%periences of war can ma3e t#em "a!e! an! sa!istic& as s#own by 9at :iley. 'o moral person woul! torture a baby animal& e en out of (rief& as :iley !i!. +#e pure #orror of rea!in( about w#at #appene! to t#e buffalo li3ely s#oc3s t#e rea!er into not e en sli(#tly !oubtin( t#e trut# to t#at anec!ote& an! t#ere truly

Donlon 3 is no way to e%tract a !eeper meanin( from :iley$s pain. Whether his audience believes a war story should be of no importance to an author, as the truest truth seems mundane and made up. ,$-rien postulates t#at any listener or rea!er of a war story only cares about t#e trut# of a story if t#ey nee! t#at story to be true. ,$-rien ma3es a (reat e%ample of t#is wit# t#is statement& .for e%ample& we$ e all #ear! t#is one. Four (uys (o !own a trail. A (rena!e sails out. ,ne (uy "umps on it an! ta3es t#e blast an! sa es #is t#ree bu!!ies. *s it true= +#e answer matters2 4>5. 0#at #e means by t#at statement is t#at in certain stories a rea!er wants t#e (oo! to will out an! for e eryone to be all ri(#t at t#e en! of t#e !ay. *f you #ear! t#at story an! it turne! out t#at t#e sol!ier w#o (a e #is life for #is frien!s faile! to sa e t#em because t#e blast from t#e (rena!e was too lar(e& t#at story woul! not satisfy. +#at story woul! lea e you wit# a #ole in your (ut an! woul! ma3e you feel worse for t#e wear. 1tories #a e a power to affect one$s !ay an! one$s outloo3 on t#e worl!. 1ometimes it$s better "ust to su(ar coat t#em an! tell t#e rea!er t#at& yes& t#e sol!ier !i! sa e #is fellow sol!iers from t#e blast of t#e (rena!e. ,ne of t#e last rules t#at ,$-rien #as is t#at .true war stories !o not (eneralize2 485. Any ol! person can state t#at .war is #ell&2 an! mean it& but t#at !oes not necessarily elicit an emotional response. Also& war may not be #ell to e eryone. /e states t#at e en t#ou(# people may ar(ue t#at war is an u(ly& (rotes<ue t#in(& it can also be beautiful in t#e s#eer (ran!eur of combat. All t#e flas#es of (uns an! bombs& t#e #armonies of (unpow!er (oin( off& an! t#e symmetrical !ance of troops marc#in( #e iews as beautiful. ,$-rien states .li3e a 3iller forest fire& li3e cancer un!er a microscope& any battle or bombin( rai! or artillery barra(e #as t#e aest#etic purity of absolute moral in!ifference? a powerful& impeccable beauty? an! a true war story will tell t#e trut# about t#is& t#ou(# t#e trut# is u(ly2 4@5. A (reat e%ample of t#is was t#e

Donlon 4 !escription of Curt ;emon$s !eat# from ,$-rien$s point of iew. Curt ;emon !ie! w#en #e steppe! on a lan! mine& but t#at is not #ow ,$-rien remembers it. /ow #e remembers is it li3e t#is& .but& if * coul! e er (et t#e story ri(#t& #ow t#e sun seeme! to (at#er aroun! #im an! pic3 #im up an! lift #im into a tree& if * coul! some#ow recreate t#e fatal w#iteness of t#at li(#t& t#e <uic3 (lare& t#e ob ious cause an! effect& t#en you woul! belie e t#e last t#in( ;emon belie e!& w#ic# for #im must$ e been t#e final trut#2 4>5. Aust #is !escription alone !escribes w#y a true war story can ne er be tol! because e en if a person tells e ery part of t#eir story in precise !etail& no one woul! belie e it. *f ,$-rien #a! e er tol! someone t#at #is frien! ;emon #a!n$t !ie! by steppin( on a ri((e! 10B roun!& but by bein( lifte! up by li(#t into t#e trees& w#o woul! belie e #im= *t is muc# easier to belie e t#at ;emon !ie! by steppin( on a lan!mine& e en if& to ,$-rien& t#at is not w#at #appene!. +ellin( a true war story is no easy feat& if an impossible one& to ta3e on. A storyteller can write or say e ery !etail of w#at t#ey remember about t#eir e%periences& an! yet t#e story may not be true. A #istorian can write !own e eryt#in( t#at factually #appene! in a battlefiel!& but t#at completely e%clu!es t#e sol!ier$s perspecti es on w#at #a! #appene!. 'o one?way of tellin( a war story is ri(#t& an! no one?way of tellin( a war story is wron(. +#ere will always be a lac3 of a !eeper meanin( t#at t#e au!ience is searc#in( #opelessly for& t#ere may not be t#e #eroic an! coura(eous sol!ier sparin( #is life for t#e li es of ot#ers& an! t#ere will always be contra!ictions on #ow t#e story is e entually tol!. 0#at t#ere always will be t#ou(#& is #onesty. 0ar stories may not #a e a moral& but at least t#ey are bein( #onest in tellin( you t#at not e eryt#in( in life is (oo!. 9at :iley was bein( #onest wit# #imself w#en #e #urt t#at water buffalo to ease t#e pain of t#e loss of #is best frien!. Curt ;emon may #a e not been lifte! into t#e #ea ens by a beam of li(#t& but t#at !oesn$t mean t#at t#at$s not w#at ,$-rien t#in3s

Donlon #onestly #appene!. +im ,$-rien was ri(#t in statin( t#at t#ere is no way to tell a true war story& but an #onest one is nice to come by because it isn$t tryin( to mas<uera!e as t#e trut#.

Citations ,C-rien& +im. D/ow +o +ell A +rue 0ar 1tory.D +rans. Array The Postmodern American Fiction: A Norton Anthology. 'ew 7or3E 0.0. 'orton& 1>>8. 1@4?18F. Print.