SHS Web of Conf.
Volume 174, 20232023 2nd International Conference on Science Education and Art Appreciation (SEAA 2023)
|Number of page(s)||5|
|Section||Digital Media Technology and Art Appreciation|
|Published online||11 August 2023|
Breaking Metanarratives in Tim O’Brien’s text: A Postmodern Analysis
Smith College, 1 Chapin Way, Northampton, United States
* Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Vietnam War was a splitting conflict that caused significant social, political, and cultural upheaval in American society. Tim O’Brien’s work explores the personal experiences of soldiers who fought in the war, their inner lives, and the complexities of telling true stories about the war. This paper discusses O’Brien’s “How to Tell a True War Story” as a representation of a unique literary work set in the context of the Vietnam War. The paper argues that O’Brien’s narrative style departs from traditional metanarrative styles by emphasizing individual traumas and inner experiences, which transcends the question of factual accuracy. The paper utilizes Jean-Francois Lyotard’s theory of metanarratives in the postmodern era to explore how O’Brien’s narrative style subverts traditional narrative structures, creating an emphasis on individual emotions and experiences. The paper argues that O’Brien’s narrative style, which includes fragmentary narration, personification of items, and conscious expressions from the narrator’s perspective, authentically elaborates the obscurity and disorder of people’s inner world during wars. This narrative style provides a meaningful way for people to empathize and connect with the text, especially during times of uncertainty and despair such as the COVID-19 pandemic. O’Brien disrupts metanarratives, making readers doubt their own viewpoints and beliefs, and deconstructs the textures of power and authority. While his work is significant in subverting authoritative storytelling, the loss of belief in overarching narratives may lead to social unrest, political upheaval, and economic instability. The combination of the metanarrative and the postmodern subversive narration might be a possible solution.
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2023
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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