If I Die in a Combat Zone

Topics: Vietnam War, Vietnam, Born on the Fourth of July Pages: 2 (765 words) Published: May 3, 2011
The novels If I Die in a Combat Zone and The Things They Carried were both written by Tim O’Brien. Tim O’Brien is a Vietnam War veteran and all of the novels he wrote are about his times in the war. He includes the same characters in the stories, but changed their names and descriptions. I do not believe that O’Brien wrote the books for any political reason. Both of the novels have very much in common including the style that it is written, and the stories that are told. There are also differences including the order of the stories, and the endings. These similarities and differences are important for the novels because it shows the diversity that different soldiers go through in times of war.

The style that O’Brien writes in both novels is first person narrative. O’Brien tells the story in his point of view, and tells different stories. In If I Die in a Combat Zone the stories he tells his whole time in Vietnam. He starts with how he got drafted into the war and his training. He considered leaving the country to go live in Europe. At the last minute he almost left, but then decided to stay and go to Vietnam. He continues the story in chronological order of the times and significant events that had happened throughout his duty.

In The Things They Carried, O’Brien told significant stories that were told out of chronological order. The stories told in The Things They Carried were also less biographical and focused more on the men in his platoon. He also jumps back and forth between the war and post war, where he talked to the surviving men from his platoon. He tells the stories of the war, and the stories that the men told him.

This is one of the differences between the two books. The ways the stories are told are different. Even though both books are told in the perspective of O’Brien, when he is telling the stories in The Things They Carried, we are more sympathetic to the other characters because it mostly focuses on them.

In both of the stories,...
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