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Courage In Tim O Brien's The Things They Carried

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In Tim O’Brien’s novel, “The Things They Carried,” about the Vietnam war, courage is described as a necessity for all soldiers. He uses both him and his comrade’s circumstances to describe this. Throughout the novel the motif of courage evolves as characters serve in the Vietnam War. Being drafted into the Vietnam war forced O’Brien to become a soldier and participate in the war. His distaste for the war made it difficult for him to find the mental courage to fight in Vietnam which he thought was avoidable. The trip he took north to the Tip Top Lodge in “On The Rainy River,” mentally prepared him for making the decision of either going to war or running away to Canada. Elroy Berdahl, the owner of Tip Top Lodge, helped guide O’Brien to make a decision for himself. “It struck me that he must’ve planned it. I’ll never be certain, or course, but I think he meant to bring me up against the realities, to guide me across the river and to take me to the edge and to stand a kind of vigil as I chose a life for myself” (O’Brien 56). By going to Canada he feared resentment, embarrassment, and lost respect from those he cared about, this made the decision for him.“I couldn’t make up my mind. I feared the war, yes, but I also feared exile. I was afraid of walking away from my own life, my friends and my family, my whole history, everything that mattered to me. I feared losing the respect of my parents. I feared the law. I feared ridicule and censure” (O’Brien 45-45). “I tried to will
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