Society's Influence In The Things They Carried

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An adventurer has just received a dangerous task: He is to skydive into the Grand Canyon. Everyone around him sees him as extremely brave and daring and expects him to mercilessly do so, but this time, the adventurer responds differently, saying he feels too scared to do that. Knowing that the community around him wants to see him go do that, he begins to feel a lot of pressure. Once seen as the most bold person anyone could meet, he is afraid that the community will view him as a coward if he does not attempt this task. Ultimately, he chooses to go skydiving amid the inherent risks. This is a prime example of society’s influence and what it can do to people. It motivates people to do what they usually would not do. Without coincidence, it…show more content…
Near the start of the chapter “On the Rainy River”, O’Brien receives the one notice in the mail which he had been hoping to avoid for the rest of his life: he is drafted and enlisted for duty in the Vietnam War. Long before he received the notice he went through negative warlike experiences such as hating boy scouts. Additionally, he feels as if there is no point in the war, but the people in his town keep encouraging him to go. Troubled with a large dilemma, he goes back to his hometown in Minnesota, pondering for days. Eventually, he thinks of himself as a coward, and he reveals that he “couldn’t endure the mockery, or the disgrace or the patriotic ridicule…[he] couldn’t make [himself] be brave...Embarrassment, that’s all it was” (O’Brien 57). O’Brien feels the shame engulf him and this leads him to submit and go to war. Although O’Brien does not have any incentive to go to war at first, it is the shame that ultimately motivates him to face his fears and head to Vietnam with other soldiers. Without feeling the embarrassment himself, O’Brien would not be anywhere near as motivated to go to war as he is in the book. Society’s influence on him causes him to not only feel ashamed, but to also submit to one of the most dangerous things one can experience: war. Clearly, he shows that one should make decisions independent from society, otherwise negative effects will
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