Passages for TTTC Paper: Unconventional Story-Telling Techniques

2 01 2011

Subject: Tim O’Brien, author of The Things They Carried, sometimes tells two stories at the same time, the past and present, or what happened and how a person explains what happened.

Example Passages:
1. Outside, a soft violet light was spreading out across the eastern hillsides. Two or three ARVN soldiers had built their breakfast fires, but the place was mostly quiet and unmoving. They tried the helipad first, the the mess hall and supply hootches, then they waked the entire six hundred meters of perimeter.
“Okay,” Rat finally said. “We got a problem.”
When he finished the story, Rat stopped there and looked at Mitchel Sanders for a time. [101. Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong]

2. Sanders made a sound in his throat, like a sigh, as if to say he didn’t care if I believed him or not. But he did care. He wanted me to feel the truth, to believe by the raw force of feeling. He seemed sad, in a way.
“These six guys,” he said, “they’re pretty fried out by now, and one night they start hearing voices. Like at a cocktail party. That’s what it sounds like, this big swank gook cocktail party somewhere out there in the fog. Music and chitchat and stuff. It’s crazy, I know, but they hear the champagne corks. They hear the actual martini glasses. Real hoiti-toity, all very civilized, except this isn’t civilization. This is Nam. [74. How to Tell a True War Story]

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