Understanding How Truth & Fiction Can Overlap


My goal for this paper is to open people's minds to my idea of how something can be true and fiction at the same time. This should help us understand other people's ideas and the problem as a whole. I'm proud of the deep analysis I wrote for this paper because I feel like I really explored and explained an idea that's not widely thought about. I hope my essay influences you guys to ponder on this idea of truth and fiction.


We hear numerous stories from different people all the time. Whether it’s drama, one’s experience, breaking news, or just something made for some laughs. But how can we know if someone’s telling the truth? Can a story be true only based off of one’s person’s point of view? Many people may question someone’s reliability because they believe there’s only one truth but it’s actually possible for a story to be true and fiction at once simply because one person’s truth can be someone else’s fiction and vice versa. This is different for everyone as we all have individual opinions and beliefs that affect how we process and react to certain things. But society made us blindly believe in things that are simply not true. Because of this, people aren’t truly understanding what they are being told, restricting them from other thoughts, ideas, and opportunities.

For example: police brutality. There’s a lot of rumors that policemen have been abusing their power and have been targeting people of color, which is gradually becoming true over time. According to a WITNESS.org article by Madeleine Bair, in 2014, a 36-year old woman named Kianga Mwamba was attacked by the police for recording them beating a man in handcuffs. She was tased and charged for an attempt of running over a police officer. When she was released from jail, the video on her phone that recorded everything was gone. Police officers have this armor that protects them from initially being accused of a crime because their job is supposed to do the opposite. This led to Mwamba being falsely accused of a crime she didn’t commit. Luckily, in her case, her truth was unveiled after discovering that her phone had backed up the video automatically but even with the truth out, she hasn’t been able to seek disciplinary action against the police officers who assaulted her.

At first, this story was only told from a police officers point of view. The information was biased in a way to make them seem innocent and for the woman to be guilty. But why did we believe them in the first place? It’s because we grew up believing that it’s okay to trust the authorities. Their story may have told what happened but not the entire story was explained and this is where truth and fiction overlaps. In the officers’ world, this is what happened; this is their truth. For the woman, it was only partially true. Her intentions were not to hurt the police officers, but to share what’s really happening behind the scenes of these police officers. The video recording is another truth to the story as well as it reveals the events that lead up to her arrest. Charges were dropped against her but the officers remain untouched. The power of the officers’ truth had affected her more than the actual truth and this is where the problem is in our society. A story must be laid out completely from all angles in order to thoroughly understand how to take action upon it.

Another example where a truth is not entirely told is from Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried novel. This book was about the Vietnam War and the experiences of what the soldiers went through before, during and after the war. A quote by him states, “I have been accused of ignoring the Vietnamese in my fiction, ignoring their concerns and so on. It's not a question of ignoring, though, but of not knowing. It involves the question of point of view.” For the author to tell a story from one point of view is telling one part of the story, similar to the Mwamba case. On a surface level, it influences the reader to only think about what is being told but on a deeper level, the reader is slowly believing this one side and not acknowledging the other.

Although this novel is fiction, the author was able to execute a story that made it seem very real. The stories of these soldiers were detailed and personal which made it believable. Emotions and certain characteristics can influence what we would or wouldn’t believe. The way a person shares a story is another way that truth and fiction can overlap. It’s possible for a person to completely convince another person with a made up story, and for a person who’s telling the truth not be heard.

The question of the idea of the truth and fiction overlapping is what do we truly believe? We tend to only remember things that make an impression on us and that means that it’s significant in some way. It’s okay to believe one side over the other but it’s about respecting the other point of views as well as your own. This mindset is not often applied to the justice system which is why people are constantly being mistreated. Also, it silences the voices who are already so small to begin with. We need to understand that there’s different sides to everything and that it’s not always about pinpointing things to the root but about how the idea grew to be. We should also explore the idea that it is possible for something to be true and fiction at the same time, it’s just the matter of how we choose to perceive it. With that, we need to take a step back and look at it as a whole.

Works Cited:
The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien