To Go or Not To Go

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To Go or Not To Go

The Vietnam War was a very confrontational issue amongst numerous Americans during the 1960’s and 70’s. Many young Americans did not agree with fighting in the Vietnam War. In the essay “On the Rainy River,” by Tim O’Brien explains the struggle of a 21 year old American man who has been drafted to fight in the Vietnam War. The essay proposes the narrators predicament of not wanting to go to war and displays his reasons why. The narrator states that “American war in Vietnam seemed to [him as being] wrong [and he] saw no unity of purpose” (40). One main reason that the narrator and many Americans did not see any importance of the Vietnam War is because know one had a clear understanding of the reasons why the United States of America was fighting it. O’Brien creates a strong argument of why the 21 year old man does not want to go to war because of its strongly supported use of values and emotions, credibility, and logical reasoning.

In the story “On the Rainy River,” emotions contribute to the strength of this argument. O’Brien rouses the audience by using descriptive emotional examples. The narrator describes the impact of opening the draft letter: scanning the first few lines, feeling the blood go thick behind my eyes. I remember a sound in my head. It wasn’t thinking, just a silent howl. (41)

Reading his emotional feelings during the event taken place, the audience is affected by the narrator’s problem. In addition, after the first impact of shock the narrator becomes defensive by stating that he is “too good for this war […] too smart, too compassionate, too everything” (41). Emotions rapidly running through his head, the narrator expresses his defensive opinions ...

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... way in the future then using him in the war now.

The argument in “On the Rainy River” is an effective argument because of its use of emotional contributions, personable attributes, and the use of his descriptive thought process throughout the entire essay. Consistent issues such as the narrator’s conscience and conflicts between emotions and values make the argument strong because it captures the audience’s attention. Also, it allows the reader to share a sense of empathy for the narrator’s problem. O’Brien’s use of personable example hooks the audience to be sympathetic towards the narrator’s predicament. In addition, the argument is more believable by the audience because of O’Brien’s credible examples. Furthermore, this argument is strong because the narrator captures the audience’s compassion and opinion of why he does not want to go to war.

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