The short story” Ambush” by Tim O’Brian starts with the narrator being asked by his 9-year old daughter if he has ever taken a life during the war.

She is well aware of his time as a soldier and believes he must have killed someone since he keeps writing war stories.

It’s quite difficult for the narrator to answer her question, so he chooses to deny it because he believes it’s the right thing to do and assures her that he hasn’t killed anyone in the war. However, he hopes one day to share the truth with her once she’s older.


The main character is the unnamed narrator, who after he killed a young man with a grenade, relates the incident from the war.

During the whole story, the narrator is facing an internal debate about acting’s in the past and questioning whether they were justified.

We hear the story through a first-person narrator. The narrator recounts a traumatic event that happened in his past in a very detailed way, focusing on the event itself and the impact it had on him.