On A Rainy River Character Analysis

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In much of literature, authors use characters to convey a point or theme he or she is trying to make. By putting a character in certain situations and creating an according reaction, a reader may be able to empathize or be persuaded to think a certain way. For example, in Tim O’Brien’s short story, “On a Rainy River,” the author tries to tell or teach readers that society may be responsible for many of the problems people face. In Tim’s case (the main character society forces him to make one of his toughest decisions, and within these decisions or conflicts, the author teaches his lesson. He gets drafted into a war he does not agree with. Society had created this conflict, and he is drawn into it. On the other hand, if he runs away and refuses…show more content…
He wonders what will happen to him if he were to run away to Canada. In his mind, his plays out the believable situation, that society or the mainly the people around him will exile him from their community. He knows that the local people will talk about him as he, a “sissy [,] had taken off for Canada” (O’Brien 48). However, Tim feels as if they do not understand the moral split that he is poised between. He fears for his own self good, and he blames society’s “simple-minded patriotism, their prideful ignorance,” for not feeling sympathetic (O’Brien 48). Society, in his mind, does not understand how he is forced to fight for a cause he does not want to help. They are responsible for this conflict when the government sends him his draft card. Society creates a separate conflict, and he, of all people, is forced to help fix it. If he does not help, society will look down on him, and possibly they will come after him in Tim’s mind with “helicopters and searchlights and barking dogs” (O’Brien 53). For this reason, he chooses to go off to war; perhaps he will not be killed and have a new life when he comes back. Yet, in his mind, he is a coward as he collapsed on under the stress of
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