On The Rainy River Analysis

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In the short story, “On the Rainy River” by Tim O’Brien, the author develops the idea that when an individual experiences a feeling of shame and humiliation, they often tend to neglect their desires and convictions to impress society. Tim, the narrator, starts off by describing his feeling of embarrassment, “I’ve had to live with it, feeling the shame”, before even elaborating on the cause of the feeling. Near the end of the story, he admits he does not run off and escape to Canada because it had nothing to do with his, “mortality...Embarrassment, that’s all it was”. The narrator experiences this feeling of intense shame and then he decides that he will be “a coward” and go to war. His personal desire is that he wishes to live a normal life and could never imagine himself charging at an enemy position nor ever taking aim at another human being. However, due to societal …show more content…

It was not Tim’s sense of nationalist loyalties that caved him; rather, it was helplessness and his reputation that was at risk. Tim O’Brien longed to be that “secret hero” or “Lone Ranger” in order to impress those around him. However, he ends up learning that courage does not come in finite quantities. He finds himself resenting authority, “If you support a war, if you think it’s worth the price, that’s fine, but you have to put your own precious fluids on the line”. No matter how much he may find the law cruel and inhuman, he has is too prideful and decides to comply with the rules. As Emily Bronte once said, “Proud people breed sad sorrows for themselves”. Tim’s choice did nothing but “breed sorrow” that damaged him for the rest of his life. Oftentimes, an individual finds themselves in despair; they tend to disconnect and isolate themselves from society as a way of coping from that anguish. In the short story, “On the Rainy River,” the narrator isolates himself into a state of moral confusion which he cannot fathom. The

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