In the beginning of the novel The Things They Carried,O’brien uses a whole chapter to explain the thoughts of americans at the time of the draft. The chapter was based on fleeing to Canada by crossing the rainy river. O’brien explained the river in such light as if it was a symbol of something. For example, “the river choppy and silver grey”(55). The river is explained
It all began in 1968, when Tim O'brien receive a draft notice. Tim was bound for Harvard and thinks he’s too good for war. He doesn’t really want to go to Vietnam, so he decide to run away to Canada which he knew was wrong. When he got to Canada, he finds an old resort called the Tip Top Lodge. Its owner was Elroy Berdahl who O’brien says saved his life. O’Brien stays there for six days. On the last day, Elroy takes O’brien fishing in the rainy river. Elroy stopped within swimming distance to Minnesota and O’brien was faced with dilemma: jump and swim or stay. He started crying and on the other side, he sees hallucination of his family, and friends. He was too scared to jump, so Elroy steers back to the lodge. He left the next morning, drove back home, and heads to Vietnam.
Life can bring unexpected events that individuals might not be prepared to confront. This was the case of O’Brien in the story, “On the Rainy River” from the book The Things They Carried. As an author and character O’Brien describes his experiences about the Vietnam War. In the story, he faces the conflict of whether he should or should not go to war after being drafted. He could not imagine how tough fighting must be, without knowing how to fight, and the reason for such a war. In addition, O’Brien is terrified of the idea of leaving his family, friends and everything he loves behind. He decides to run away from his responsibility with the society. However, a feeling of shame and embarrassment makes him go to war. O’Brien considers
In the memoir The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien, the chapter titled: On the Rainy River has a central idea of resentment, embarrassment and eventual acceptance to change. The author creates this central idea with the use of a regretful tone, man vs society conflict, and dreary imagery. The theme of this chapter contributes to O’Brien’s intentions for the book because it demonstrates the struggle, shame, and or confusion each man drafted into the war experienced.
With this part of the story, O’Brien is able to inject the theme of shame motivating the characters in the book. This chapter is about how the author, who is also the narrator, is drafted for the war. He runs away to the border between Canada and the United States, he stays in a motel with an old man for about a week and finds that he should go to war for his country. In the beginning it was about shame, he didn’t want to look like a coward because in truth he was scared. He was afraid to face the pressures of war, the humiliation and the fact of losing “everything”. This man was an average person who lived an average life with no problems, until he got the notice about the war, which caused the shame and fear of being seen as a bad person to come out.
Going through an era when the Vietnam War was a smash hit in your town, many high school senior boys would be drafted out if their number was on the list of people. The men drafted had to leave behind their families and aspirations. Tim O’Brien uses different perspectives in The Things They Carried to show if something tragic happens in life, consequently dealing with it may be hard. Moving on will help in the future.
In a later discussion, O’Brien said the chapter “On The Rainy River” is not a true story. The chapter is a fictionalized account of what would’ve happened if he ran away to avoid the draft like he wanted to. This same strategy was applied when he wrote “The Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong”. While O’Brien was in Vietnam, Someone likely joked about how easy it would be to bring a girl to their base. He takes the concept and makes uses it as a vehicle to discuss innocence. We are even told in the beginning to the chapter that the story comes from Rat Kiley who has a history of exaggeration and spicing up stories (Citation Needed for Paraphrase)
“On the Rainy River” is a story recalled by O’Brien that he states has never told to anyone. “To go into it, I’ve always thought, would only cause embarrassment for all of us …” (p. 39) By coming out and telling his readers this confession only shows his courage from it in the long run. The story develops the theme of embarrassment as a motivating factor, just as Jimmy Cross feels guilty about Ted Lavender’s death, O’Brien feels guilty about going to
The author, Tim O'Brien, is writing about an experience of a tour in the Vietnam conflict. This short story deals with inner conflicts of some individual soldiers and how they chose to deal with the realities of the Vietnam conflict, each in their own individual way as men, as soldiers.
“On the Rainy River”, is a short story made by Tim O'Brien. He is also the main character in the story. The story is about Tim O’Brien getting a draft notice to go to the Vietnam war. However, he is against the war and refuses to go, eventually running away to the U.S. border attempting to go to Canada. He meets an old man named Elroy Berdahl, who lets him stay in his house while he decides whether to go to Canada or go to the Vietnam war. Minor characters in this story play a big part in how the main character thinks and acts. Some stories have minor characters play an important role affecting the main character. For example, Elroy is mostly silent in the story except for a few lines however he ultimately affects Tim’s decision to go to Canada or fight in the war. The main character Tim O'Brien is affected by minor characters in ways that help him throughout the story, like Elroy with his subtle comments on the situation in the evening and on the boat and all the people Tim hallucinates.
Historical- This story was written in the 1970’s about war, the Vietnam War to be more specific. The reason I know it was that war is because the author himself fought in the Vietnam War. In 1968, after graduating from college, O’Brien gets a paper saying he’s being drafted. He was going to flee to the boarder of Canada but he went to war. Coming back after the war he attended Harvard and became an Award winning novelist. The text is saying briefly it was a hard period in time. There were parts where he talks about the character Paul and he says “He was pretending he was a boy again”, I’m guessing deep down he didn’t want to be there fighting.
The narrator is torn between two worlds. In his heart and mind, he knows that the war is wrong and unjust. In his family, town, and nation, however, he was expected to fight. He must cross a number of hurdles on his way to a life altering decision. It seems the man has gotten beyond the idea of self embarrassment. The problem for Cross, it seems, is the fact that his decision affects everyone around him. Like any young man in those times, he was scared. Not scared of death, but scared of life after the war. He knows that is he does not go to the war, his mother, his father, and all his friends will share the burden of his embarrassment. That is why he must go to the war. In a noble sort of way, Cross saves his family the embarrassment of draft dodging. In his mind, however, he is a coward, a man who simply put, could not stand up to himself in a time of turmoil. This lack of confidence and self assurance is something
It surprised me that the main character, Tim O'Brien, tried to flee the country when he was drafted to be in the war. I think what really stopped him from going to Canada was the shame and guilt that awaited him if he chose the "easy" way out. Peer pressure was the main factor because even the thought of being ridiculed by the locals of his hometown ultimately made him not leave the country. Although they were not physically there with him at the Tip Top Lodge, they majorly impacted Tim O'Brien; he could not sleep.
The short story that will be discussed, evaluated, and analyzed in this paper is a very emotionally and morally challenging short story to read. Michael Meyer, author of the college text The Compact Bedford Introduction to Literature, states that the author of How to Tell a True War Story, Tim O’Brien, “was drafted into the Vietnam War and received a Purple Heart” (472). His experiences from the Vietnam War have stayed with him, and he writes about them in this short story. The purpose of this literary analysis is to critically analyze this short story by explaining O’Brien’s writing techniques, by discussing his intended message and how it is displayed, by providing my own reaction,
At the beginning of the story the narrator, Tim, gets affected by committing an act of violence when he was in the Vietnam War, killing an enemy Vietnamese soldier. Many thoughts began flowing in his head, all the time thinking about the man he killed. “He had been born, maybe, in 1946 in the village of My Khe near the central coastline of