Reflections on Literature by Tim O'Brien and Henry David Thoreau

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Reflections Part 1 Vietnam is the subject of Journal #1, but more importantly the effect of Vietnam on individuals. Tim O'Brien, in his book, describes a number of personal events that he experienced as a result of his experiences in Vietnam. One of the most interesting assertions he makes is when he claims that because he went to war, he was a coward. (O'Brien) He makes this claim because he was really opposed to the war but did not have the courage to stand up an announce his opposition. Instead he simply obeyed orders and sent to war. But he forgets that there is a difference between the courage to stand up for one's convictions and the courage to face actual death. His claim of being a coward is a personal judgment based on his personal emotions, while his acceptance of actual danger and the risk of death proved that he was not. I believe that his guilt over not opposing the war publicly, not evading the draft, was the source of his feelings of cowardice. However, the horrors faced in Vietnam were the true test of courage, and he passed that test. The next interesting aspect of the journal entry was the interaction between Cross and Martha. Martha was a typical anti-war type who opposed the war on a purely intellectual basis, but Cross was a person who experienced the war and was changed by it. Martha remains an immature child who "thinks" about things and believes that this is the reality. On the other hand, Cross has "experience," and the wisdom that comes

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