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The Meanings They Carry William Timothy OBrien has written many stories during his lifetime The first of which he wrote when he was nine years old Timmy of the Little League was an autobiography of a youngster involved in sports Myers 143 As Tim was growing up he took a break from writing He began again while serving in the Vietnam war When he began writing again he quickly readapted to an autobiographical style of writing These wartime stories are what has made OBrien one of the leading writers today His style is often compared to other factfiction writers such as Hemmingway Fitzgerald and Faulkner Myers 144 It is said by critics that OBrien uses a lot of the same plot ideas as used by these other famous wartime authors Even though similar plots are used OBrien uses his own experiences to make the stories realistic and inspirational The same basic themes runs throughout all of OBriens stories According to Thomas Myers all of OBriens work contains these basic principles the continual interplay of fact and imagination in fiction and in life the compulsive absurd noble quest for human truth the difficulty in defining and obtaining the elusive quality of courage and ongoing human need for fragile made up explanatory device we call story With all of these elements together Tim is trying to write stories that fill his description that War stories arent about war-they are about the human heart at war While serving in the South China Sea OBrien wrote poetry and short vignettes about what he was experiencing After returning from his Vietnam tour-of-duty OBrien wrote If I Die in a Combat Zone Box Me Up and Ship Me Home This autobiography is an account of a soldier facing death and searching for courage OBrien offers a particular version of himself who is both a participant telling one mans story and a symbolic emissary of his culture who exchanges
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