The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien

In the book The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien uses many themes to help draw connections between the book and the reader. O’Brien’s “On The Rainy River” chapter contains countless motifs that make this chapter so compelling. “On The Rainy River” describes his decision whether to enter the draft or to flee to Canada where he would not get condemned. The main theme in this chapter is embarrassment. First Lieutenant Tim O’Brien goes insane from the embarrassment he would face if he did not enter the draft. Tim O’Brien finds himself staring at his draft notice on June 17, 1968. He was confused and flustered. O’Brien does not know how or why he got selected for the draft. All he knew was that he was above the war itself, “A million things all at once—I was too good for this war. Too smart, too compassionate, to everything. It couldn’t happen” (41). He was also demented on the fact that he, a war hater, was being drafted. He felt if anyone were to be drafted it should be the people who supported the war. “If you support a war, if you think it’s worth the price, that’s fine, but you have to put your own precious fluids on the line” (42). His draft notice was when he first carried his thought of embarrassment. He instantly thought if he does not support the war he should not have to go to war. The only way not to go to war was to flee the country so the draft council could not find him. He had a moral split. “I feared the war, yes, but I also feared exile” (44). This quote is so true in young adults, not only then, but also now. Peer pressure, the thought of being embarrassed if we do not do something, pushes many young adults to do things they do not want to such as pushing Tim O’Brien to enter the draft. The thought of being judged ... ... middle of paper ... ...y crying not knowing what to do then he turned and peered back to the Minnesota shore line. “It was as real as anything I would ever feel. I saw my parents calling to me from the far shoreline. I saw my brother and sister, all the townsfolk, the mayor and the entire Chamber of Commerce and all my old teachers and girlfriends and high school buddies. Like some weird sporting event: everybody screaming from the sidelines, rooting me on” (58). This is when he knew he could not turn his back on his beloved country. All the wrong he felt the draft was he could not cross the border to flee from anything or anyone. This whole situation describes the rest of his life, but mainly his years in the Vietnam War. He would have to make decisions, decisions that would be hard but would have to do for the ones he loved. Works Cited "The Things They Carried" by Tim O'Brien

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