“The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien Essay

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The intention of the following text is to elaborate the use of meta-fiction and narrative layering in Tim OʼBrienʼs The Things They Carried through writing a narrated interview with Tim OʼBrien regarding Part Fourʼs study: Literature and Critical Study. Using quotations/transcriptions of Tim OʼBrienʼs statements within the fictional interview will support the structure of the text accordingly as a narration of an interview. First, I will address Tim OʼBrienʼs brief biography regarding his career, education and works. The narration will continue with an introduction from the interviewer, briefly regarding his works and the incorporation of observed application of meta-fiction and narrative layering. Then, a personal acknowledgement of the use of meta-fiction and narrative layering in his work, The Things They Carried, will be mentioned discreetly and indirectly.

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Within Speaking of Courage, a character ʻTimʼ is present. Written in third person narrative, and having the same name as the author, I personally thought that Tim, the character, was Tim, the writer. Though the literal Tim OʼBrien addressed that “I am Tim, Tim OʼBrien, but Tim is not me.” I gave him a blank stare, attempting to understand his point then I realized that he used narrative layering within his work. The first layer can be considered as when Tim, the character, heard about Bowkerʼs story, then the story lead to the second layer at which Tim, the writer, made it seem like Bowker is retelling the story. In fact, the whole story itself, is narrated by a fictional narrator, this discovery is and can be seen as the third and final layer.

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Layered Narrative Storytelling: A Journalistic Standard for Creating . Last accessed 23rd May 2014. . Waugh, Patricia. Metafiction: The Theory and Practice of Self-Conscious Fiction. NY: Routledge, 1984. .

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