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The Things They Carried


The classic, ground-breaking meditation on war and the redemptive power of ...
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What do you believe O'Brien means when he says in "Good Form" that there is "story-truth" and "happening truth"?

Created: 03/04/20

Replies: 6

Posted Mar. 04, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 3058

What do you believe O'Brien means when he says in "Good Form" that there is "story-truth" and "happening truth"?

What do you believe O'Brien means when he says in "Good Form" that there is "story-truth" and "happening truth"? Do you agree with him? Do you think there is even such a thing as a true war story? Do you think truth can evolve over time, or is it fixed and absolute?


Posted Mar. 07, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Tired Bookreader

Join Date: 08/19/11

Posts: 187

RE: What do you believe O'Brien means when he says in "Good Form" that there is "story-truth" and "happening truth"?

I would imagine that story-truth is the best way to tell what happened that an average person might be able to comprehend and the happening-truth would have elements that the average person would think were exaggerations the soldier inserted to enhance the experience. But the happening truth happened.


Posted Mar. 08, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dorinned

Join Date: 10/13/14

Posts: 176

RE: What do you believe O'Brien means when he says in "Good Form" that there is "story-truth" and "happening truth"?

As O'Brien explains it, the listener can tell a true war story by "its absolute and uncompromising allegiance to obscenity and evil." If a war story seems moral, of instructs, or seems virtuous, it almost assuredly is not true.


Posted Mar. 11, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kimk

Join Date: 10/16/10

Posts: 668

RE: What do you believe O'Brien means when he says in "Good Form" that there is "story-truth" and "happening truth"?

I recently saw a quote from Neil Gaiman: "Fiction is a lie that tells us true things, over and over." And I think that's what's going on here. O'Brien may have fictionalized a lot of the book, but I think there's an underlying basis of fact there - the "happening truth" - that if reported completely factually wouldn't have conveyed the intensity of what actually happened.


Posted Mar. 15, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
BuffaloGirl

Join Date: 01/13/18

Posts: 150

RE: What do you believe O'Brien means when he says in "Good Form" that there is "story-truth" and "happening truth"?

Sometimes happening truth is so powerful that it can't be written in story truth. Sometimes happening truth is so abhorrent, it can only be written down as story truth.


Posted Mar. 15, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
BuffaloGirl

Join Date: 01/13/18

Posts: 150

RE: What do you believe O'Brien means when he says in "Good Form" that there is "story-truth" and "happening truth"?

Sometimes happening truth is so powerful that it can't be written in story truth. Sometimes happening truth is so abhorrent, it can only be written down as story truth.


Posted Apr. 25, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
beckys

Join Date: 08/12/16

Posts: 169

RE: What do you believe O'Brien means when he says in "Good Form" that there is "story-truth" and "happening truth"?

I think the happening truth is sometimes too hard for us to handle, so the author resorts to story truth which may be more palatable for us to accept.


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