Memorable Mondays // A Reason to Vote

Memorable Mondays Main ImageMemorable 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?

Published by Lauren Busser

Lauren Busser is a fiction writer and essayist. She is an associate editor at Tell-Tale TV, where she writes about all things tv. She has had fiction appear in five : 2 : one magazine’s #thesideshow and her nonfiction has appeared in Bitch Media and The Hartford Courant. You can find her talking about tv, film, and knitting on Twitter @LaurenBusser.

8 thoughts on “Memorable Mondays // A Reason to Vote

  1. I read The Things They Carried in English class my junior year of high school and it still sometimes pops randomly into my head– it’s one of those books that lingers long after you’ve finished it. I love the way O’Brien plays around with the way we understand truth, war, and trauma. He reveals that many definitions and manifestations of these concepts, underlining the idea that there may be more than one truth in the world. It’s a memorable read, and I can’t believe that haven’t yet read anything else by Tim O’Brien!


    1. Those are all things that I loved about the book! He really does play with the way we understand war the toll it takes on human beings. I really should check out another book of his one day, but I think I need to digest this first.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved this book, and I love this quote. It really helps explain how the way we understand war is much different from those who have experienced it. Especially because war stories never reveal everything that may have happened…
    “There is no rectitude ever, there is no virtue” Wow… Those who never experienced war, can never understand it.


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