Archetypes In On The Rainy Road

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After analyzing “On the Rainy Road” through an archetypal lens, it is clear that the symbols effectively indicate that going to war was a terrible decision. To start, Tim’s archetypal character showed that he was not emotionally ready to go to war. For instance, when Tim was trying to decide if he should go to war or run away to Canada, he had flashbacks described as follows, “I saw a seven-year-old boy in a white cowboy hat… I saw a sixteen-year-old kid decked out for his first prom, looking spiffy in a white tux,” (O’Brien). Tim imagined the colour white which is the archetypal colour for purity and innocence, showing he represents the divine child archetype. Tim representing a child shows that he was not emotionally prepared for war. Not being emotionally ready leads to negative outcomes. Imagine…show more content…
When O’Brien was on his way to a Canadian shore, he saw, “a squirrel up in one of the birch trees, a big crow looking at me from a boulder along the river.” A squirrel is an archetypal symbol for practicality and birch trees represent growth and beauty. These symbols show that Canada will give O’Brien beauty, safety, and the chance to grow a new life. Canada is the more practical decision, but what stares at him is the decision to go to war, or in other words death and fear, the archetypal meaning for a crow. To add, when O’Brien was driving back to Minnesota to go to war, he said “I passed through towns with familiar names, through the pine forests and down to…” Here O’Brien used the term forest instead of trees like he did when describing Canada in the last quote. The author’s use of the word ‘forest’ tells the readers that going to Minnesota was a poor choice as forests represent a place of danger whereas trees represent life and knowledge. O’Brien missed out on growing as a person, growing a beautiful life, and gaining knowledge to go to a a war he should not have gone
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