Memorable Mondays is a meme that focuses on spotlighting our favorite quotes from books we’ve read.
This week’s quote comes from The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien.
This is from the chapter called “How to Tell a True War Story.” I loved this quote because it feels relevant to the time we live in even though it was published over twenty-five years ago.
I typically try to keep my quotes to a few sentences, but since this one feels so relevant this a couple of paragraphs. I highly recommend you check out the Audible edition with
A true war story is never moral. It does not instruct, nor encourage virtue, nor suggest models for proper human behavior, nor restrain men from doing the things men have always done. If a story seems moral, do not believe it. If at the end of a war story you feel uplifted, or if you feel that some small bit of rectitude has been salvaged from the larger waste, then you have been made the victim of a very old and terrible lie. There is no rectitude whatsoever. There is no virtue. As a first rule of thumb, therefore, you can tell a true war story, by it’s absolute and uncompromising allegiance to obscenity and evil. Listen to Rat Kiley. Cooze, he says. He does not say bitch. He certainly does not say woman or girl. He says cooze. Then he spits and stares, because his friend is dead, and because it’s so incredibly sad and true: she never wrote back.
You can tell a true war story if it embarrasses you. If you don’t care for obscenity, you don’t care for the truth; if you don’t care for the truth, watch how you vote. Send guys to war, they come home talking dirty.
Have you read The Things They Carried? What do you think of this quote from the book?