War is truly a very terrible thing. It has a lot of confounding effects on every person who is involved. Some individuals take war well. Others undergo very horrible experiences as a result of war such that they are scarred for life. These people are still haunted by the effects of war even when the war ends and they return home.
A lot of stories about the disastrous effects of war have been written by many authors. Tim O’Brien’s “How to Tell a True War Story" and Ernest Hemingway’s “Soldier’s Home” are examples of such stories. These two stories provide an illustration to the reader about the impact that war can have on average individual and the factors that make a person change during the war.
In “Soldier’s Home”, the author Ernest Hemingway talks about a young soldier who returns home from war only to find that no one will believe his war tales and the only stories that people believe are the ones that have been massively exaggerated. In “How to Tell a True War Story", the author, Tim O’Brien talks about a man who loses a best friend in the war. The man then pours out his entire heart to the sister of his deceased friend. The sister however does not take any time to reply and this leaves the young man is left distraught.
The two stories are very alike in very many respects. This is because both the authors of the two stories are former army veterans. O’Brien served in Vietnam while Hemmingway was a World War Two veteran. However, there are some minimal differences in the story because of the slightly varying themes and different techniques of writing of the two authors
The stories are alike in that both involve some young men who go to war and face various war atrocities. In Hemmingway’s “Soldiers Home”, the protagonist, Krebs lies and exaggerates his endeavors so much that it eventually makes him despise his lying. This theme of lying is comprehensively backed up in “How to Tell a True War Story”. Here, the author says that one must lie lot in order to make a story of war believable.
Krebs usually tells the war tales with fellow veterans. This is done at local poolroom. On the other hand, O’Brian likes telling other people about his war experiences so that the people can get better views and ideas about the real nature of war. In “Soldiers Home” Hemmingway informs the reader that although the main protagonist, Krebs, always told war stories, people did not really want to listen to such stories. Similarly, O’Brien in “How to Tell a True War Story” that war tales are essentially about individuals who never give a listening ear. One idea that is very recurring in the two stories is that soldiers actually want to do and act as they like without doing anything else.
This is exhibited vividly in “Soldiers Home” where Krebs does not really do anything important with his life. He only engages in pleasurable activities all day and does not think about making money or even getting a job. In “Soldiers Home”, Hemingway says that the only thing that a soldier wishes for while he is stuck in a battle zone’s fox hole is for a perfect world.
Hemingway utilizes Krebs to show the feelings of imprisonment by home and family values. This is in spite of the fact that he had been living that life before he went off to war. There is therefore a conflict between his former self and his current identity or lack of it. However, in O’Brien’s story, the main protagonist is actually the war story itself. The antagonists in this case are the complications and lies that are used by people who lie about war stories and embellish them so as to look more appealing or believable. This inadvertently leads to the twisting of truth.
The settings of the two stories are also significantly different. While “Soldiers Home” is actually after war has ended, in a typical Oklahoma environment, “How to Tell a True War Story” is set in the war stricken Vietnamese regions and sometimes the setting is nowhere really since the thoughts trickling in the narrator’s mind.