Synthesis of select War Literature by Tim O’Brien, Ann Jones and Michael Herr

Apart from the social comment, one must also appreciate the literary merit of the three works. The authors’ unique perspectives on war are a major reason for the books’ success. But their command of language and the ability to create emotionally striking metaphors are equally important reasons for the books’ appeal. Michael Herr’s Dispatches in particular is a bold pioneering work, for it challenged conventional models of history writing. Likewise, Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried is able to abstract cohesive stories out of random events and anecdotes of war. Ann Jones’ They Were Soldiers is a strong statement on the nature of war in our own generation.

In conclusion, all the three works referred in this essay are rich in emotional content. Though the subject matter is outwardly war and politics, it is inter-personal relations that are the focus of these works. Feelings of love, longing, sacrifice, courage, persistence were portrayed in a factually realistic and verbally impressive fashion. The negative features of disappointment, disillusionment and suffering were also conveyed to good effect.

O’Brien, Tim. 1990. The Things They Carried. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Jones, Ann. 2013. They Were Soldiers, How The Wounded Return from America’s Wars -The Untold Story, New York: Haymarket Books.

Herr, Michael. 1977. Dispatches, United States: Knopf.

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