Reflections of War Both Tim O’Brien and Sean Huze use their stories of the times they spent at war as a reflection of the things they witnessed and endured, oftentimes, sharing with the reader a bit of insight on the civilians who, undoubtedly, are forced into the hardships of war without choice.
Tim O’Brien’s “Good Form” One story from “The Things They Carried,” O’Brien shares with the reader a death he caused during his time in Vietnam and gives graphic images to really make the story visual and as real as possible to the reader.
Sean Huze’s “The Sandstorm” One monologue in particular in “The Sandstorm,” Doc Matthews shares a time when he witnessed a civilians family skewed across the road due to a bomb being ignited in their vehicle. He shares with the reader the reaction he faced from the only civilian who survived and also the feelings that came over him during the scene.
The Civilians The civilians in many war stories are oftentimes over looked, almost as though they are un-involved. Huze, however, never fails to include the civilians in his monologues. They are showcased because they had no choice but to participate in war. O’Brien differs in that he spends little to no time reflecting on the civilians in his stories of war.
Sean Huze interview and outlook on war:
Doc Matthews in “The Sandstorm,” shares: “..His wife and two children were a different story. I’m going through the motions you know? He was burned pretty bad and had some minor lacerations but overall he was in decent shape. We’re about 15 feet away from the car where his family is dead. Their bodies aren’t even recognizable. I could smell their still smoldering flesh and I just broke down” (Huze 4). As you are able to tell by reading the following passage, Sean never fails to show the emotions of war. He educates the reader through his monologues about the civilians point of view and how the soldiers react to the sad reality of war.
O’Brien writes in “Good Form”: “He was a slim, dead, almost dainty young man of about twenty. He lay in the center of a red clay trail near the village of My Khe. His jaw was in his throat. His one eye was shut, the other eye was a star-shaped hole. I killed him” (O’Brien 180). As you can tell the only similarity between the quote from “The Sandstorm,” and the one above is the topic of the civilian. Other then that, O’Brien spends little to no time offering emotion or sympathy in his stories. He simply states the brutal truth where as Huze has no problem reflecting on the poor civilian and the emotion that is natural for soldiers to feel when they experience this kind of war horror.
This video is a view of the war in Vietnam Based on “The Things They Carried:”
O’Brien vs. Huze For whatever reason, O’Brien has a much harder time showing emotion through his stories in “The Things They Carried,” and especially in “Good Form.” Huze provides a vivid reality for the reader because he is able to share so much emotion and really dig deep into the civilian point of view. Although both of these stories have many similarities, you are able to see that both are very, very different, in many ways.