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Significance of Telling the Truth

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There is a part of the conscience that makes one think twice before telling someone a lie or not saying the whole truth. This can cause people to realize what they are about to do- some realize that lying is unnecessary and others continue to exaggerate the truth to make the story clearer or more interesting. The authors of the book The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien and a short story, “A Soldier’s Home” by Ernest Hemingway have different approaches to convey a story, O’brian tells the story with a meaning behind lies, and Hemingway’s story shows that telling lies have effects on others. I agree to some extent that to get the truth you don’t always have to tell the truth but then the consequence can be the feeling of isolation, but there is also a balance between how much the truth should be shared.

There is a line between lying to make a point and lying to make a story seem great. In the book The Things, They Carried by Tim O’Brien he tells us many stories that seem like they came straight from a movie with how much detail he puts into each of them. He wants people to realize and connect with what he has gone through, “I want you to feel what I felt. I want you to know why story-truth is truer sometimes than happening-truth.” (O’Brien 171). This is right after when he makes up the story of the dead Vietnamese man, he can attach a face to his guilt and pain. This allows the readers to really picture what he is telling and that O’Brien is showing that something does not have to be true, it just needs to feel true. He takes these exaggerated stories and puts these fake characters in this fake story but the thing is that each character has truth in them for everyone else to connect with. From a different standpoint, Ernest Hemmingway wrote a short story “A Soldier’s Home” showing what a difference it is when someone is telling lies face to face, “Krebs acquired nausea regarding experience that is the result of untruth or exaggeration”(Hemingway). Krebs’s lies are demonstrated most clearly in the retelling of war stories, he thinks the people want to hear this great story so he lies about the heroics of war. Krebs finds himself telling these lies because dishonesty is the path of least resistance, even though it causes “nausea”. Or in this case, he himself from everyone else by staying in his room and only coming out when he eats. This isolation is caused by him not being able to believe that the truth has enough power in a story. This shows him that actions have consequences and in this case, it is not having the feeling to talk to anyone about war. Both of these texts show that lies can help or hurt one in life and it all depends on the reasoning and the explanation for the lies. Lies can only take one so far into a scenario and when the timer runs out what consequences will someone be left with.

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Through the use of balance, these authors have different effects on how much of the truth should be shared. In the book, The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien, he talks a lot about what the truth really shows and states, “A thing may happen and be a total lie; another thing may not happen and be truer than the truth. “(O’Brien 80) He as an author has the reader really think about what that phrase really means and goes on telling a story that is a complete lie but yet the moral is that it still feels so true. O’Brien does not care about truth in a way that everyone else feels. He tells it as a “story-truth”, not a “happening- truth”, meaning a story can have a bigger impact than something that is happening right in front of a real person. Unlike O’Brien Hemmingway wanted to show what happened when we share too much of the truth, “ I don’t love anybody. Kreb said It wasn’t any good. He couldn’t tell her, he couldn’t make her see it… He had only hurt her” (Hemingway). Krebs finally told the truth but this time he told too much of it where he got his mom said because he said he did not love her. Then Krebs felt so bad that he just lied again saying that he was just kidding but his mother just could not believe him. This shows that when you tell the truth after lying for so much it just hurts people more because one is now saying so much that there is no filter. These two texts show that no matter how you are lying someone else is getting affected by what one has spoken about. Lies can be a bad thing when you use them to make someone feel a certain way but they can also bring a different side to the story that shows the real meaning behind the story.

Everyone gets that the truth will not always come out and that may cause some consequences, for example, the feeling of isolation, but there is also a balance between how much the truth should be shared with the world. No one ever tells the whole truth because the mind won’t allow us to because we know if we saw what is true then it can hurt others in the situation. This makes one think of how much is too much truth but also think how much of a lie can hurt the person more than the truth does.  

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