Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Vietnam and BeyondTim O'Brien and the Power of Storytelling$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Stefania Ciocia

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9781846318207

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846317767

Show Summary Details
Page of
date: 20 November 2018

The Power of Storytelling

The Power of Storytelling

(p.185) 5 The Power of Storytelling
Vietnam and Beyond
Liverpool University Press

This chapter begins with a section devoted to ‘Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong’, one of the most arresting stories in The Things They Carried. In this short narrative, O'Brien acts on the idea that the war can only be understood ‘as though it were a story’ by engaging in a sustained and fruitful conversation with Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. The comparative close reading of the two texts highlights the evocative and sense-making power of ‘Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong’ as a creative re-elaboration of the experience of Vietnam. The second and third parts of the chapter return to The Things They Carried in its entirety, in order to explore its articulation of the distinction between ‘story-truth’ and ‘happening-truth’, and the author's endorsement of the former over the latter as the only truth potentially available to the storyteller.

Keywords:   Song Tra Bong, Things They Carried, short narrative, war, Vietnam story-truth, happening-truth

Liverpool Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.