Going To War In O Brien's The Things They Carried

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“I survived, but it’s not a happy ending. I was a coward. I went to war” (61). A main theme in The Things They Carried is how a man must find a way to overcome fear. The characters learn that they must have enough courage so they are able to overcome their fears. Years after the war, O’Brien reflects on his decision to fight in the Vietnam War. When he was drafted, O’Brien was pressured to go to war by the people of his hometown of Worthington. They would not let O’Brien make his own conscious decision to either fight or flee. Although he did believe in parts of the mission of the war, O’Brien was taking a stance against it while he was still in college. When he fled, O’Brien was undecided on going to war. He could not figure out whether it was worth it to let down his town, or follow his own moral beliefs. O’Brien believes it was his own choice to run from the war. At the time, O’Brien thought it was in his best interests to avoid the war. O’Brien did not completely support it, and even though he would let down his hometown, he felt it in the end it was his own choice.
O’Brien thought he was being the real man that he is when he flees because he stands up for what he believes in. When he opposes the war, O’Brien feels justified by his own morals. O’Brien works hard at the lodge in which he resides so he can earn the money to flee. After earning enough money, he finally gets his chance to escape. O’Brien’s work with Elroy Berdahl is one of his best decisions
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