The Generation of Genre
ENGLISH 110 – 32162: Composition, Literature and Critical Thinking
College of San Mateo
Ronald B. Richardson
Objective: To experience poetry, fiction, and drama more richly, by exploring the generation of the modern genres of romance, mystery and science fiction.
Continue reading “Syllabus for English 110: Composition, Literature and Critical Thinking”
“The Things They Carried” is a short work of fiction. The Things They Carried is also the name of what could be called a short-story collection or perhaps a meta-fictional novel. It’s a pastiche of fiction, nonfiction, fantasy, memoir, author’s notations, and literary commentary.
Although the opening story stands alone as a work of fiction, it also functions as an introduction to the larger book. It establishes the major characters that recur throughout the “novel” and introduces many of the topics the book explores, themes as concrete as the Vietnam War and as abstract as how someone tells the truth about a historical event. O’Brien felt that straight facts could not convey an experience as ambiguous and disturbing as the Vietnam war. Yet O’Brien does not wholly rely on fiction either. He interweaves fact and fiction in the story (and throughout the book) to give the reader a more comprehensive sense of what it was really like to fight in Vietnam, to live in the face of death, and to carry on a purposeless existence.
Continue reading “The Burden of Life: Tim O’Brien’s Metafictional Classic “The Things They Carried””