Persuasive Essay : ' The Things They Carried ' Essay

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Peter Raimann A. Delcourt English - 057 11/29/16 Persuasive Essay: The Things They Carried Are moral standards in the eye of the beholder? According to one author, “we’ve seriously lost our way”, going on to state, “we are like mean adrift at sea without a compass” (Hulme). In literature as in biology, the mantra of form fits function applies and heightens a reader’s appreciation of a writer’s choice and how they contribute to a work of literature. In Tim O’Brien’s collection of short stories, The Things They Carried, the narrative, the experience of reading and the alternating Vietnam and modern day settings not only shape the author’s world view, but reflect upon his own experiences in the 1960’s and 1970’s war. The short stories within this work, “On the Rainy River” and “Speaking of Courage”, set at the American-Canadian border and a Vietnamese field of excretions, respectively, establish the overwhelming ambiguity, constant flux and uncertainty that characterizes the experiences of O’Brien’s protagonist (himself) thus reinforcing the author’s message about the relativity of truth. What they did was morally wrong. In “On the Rainy River”, a recently drafted, teenaged O’Brien stands at both a literal and moral crossroads, facing a physical division, the river between the U.S. and Canada, that represents a life-determining choice. Raised in a mainstream 20th-century American world, O’Brien desires only to escape from the horrible sentence that is his military
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