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1) O Brien says that it is hard to tell a true war story because a true war story is unbelievable. Sometimes it s just beyond telling (p 461), he says in his short story. He then goes on to tell the story of the six men on the listening post who begin to hear weird sounds coming out of the rocks. Most people would not believe this story, which makes it hard to tell because it is frustrating when someone does not believe what you are saying is true.
When listening to a true war story, emotions get in the way. People have different opinions on war. Some see it as blood and gore, while others see it as showing pride in your country. When a person is listening to a war story, their own opinions on war will influence the impression that the story will have on them.
The question of truth may also get in the way of listening to a true war story. As I stated above, O Brien says all true war stories are unbelievable.
At the end of his essay, O Brien gives the example of a woman coming up to him in tears after he tells the story of Rat Kiley s death. He says the woman does not get the true point of the story because her emotions and opinions on war got ahead of her. They got in the way of her truly listening to the story.
2) One key word in this story is obscenity. I feel that the author uses this word to describe the true way a war is. What he saw while at war was much different from how war is depicted on movies and television. Much of what is written in this essay is considered crude or obscene by many people.
Another key word in the story is moral. O Brien uses it many times throughout the story. He says that war stories do not have morals, and that one loses their morals in war. When shows this by telling the story of the beating of the baby water buffalo. No one knew why they were doing it, and they had no feelings for the animal. They simply wanted to hurt something because they lost their morals from the war.
War is also an important word in this story. This story defines war in a way many people have never thought of it before. It shows the truth behind the usual depiction of war. After reading this story, a person will think of the word war in a different way.
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