Things They Carried Analysis

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Challenging Beliefs Vs. Challenging Obligations Many young Americans, such as Tim O’Brien, faced an ethical decision: whether to challenge their beliefs or fulfill their obligations.Throughout the Vietnam War, there were anti-war movements which led many Americans to resist and revolt against the war efforts. In The Things They Carried, O’Brien contemplates avoiding the war, however, his fear of fighting in Vietnam is overshadowed and shaped by the trepidation caused by societal pressures. An examination of the consequences and benefits of both options, as well as an analysis on how humans make decisions while being pressured, can explain O’Brien’s choice of participating in the war, rather than resisting it. American opinion towards the Vietnam…show more content…
The Canadian government did not require substantial information from immigrants who entered the country, which made it easy for resisters to cross the border into Canada. At first, the immigration policy was said to have prohibited the migration of American’s who were military resisters, however, the Canadian policy progressed in a way that allowed Americans to migrate into the country with ease; the new policy opened political opportunities for Americans (Hagan 3). There were approximately 26-32 Canadian aid groups, who helped American resisters into Canada (Kasinsky 30). Americans who were transitioning into Canadians needed to obtain “Land Immigrant Status” (31). In order for immigrants to obtain this status, they were required to have fifty points out of the total one-hundred points, which were earned by a person 's credentials and background information. The Land Immigrant Status helped American immigrants economically by allowing assured job opportunities. The Canadian aid groups also actively helped Americans assimilate to Canadian ways, helped them find shelter, and aided American resistance towards the Vietnam War. These groups played a major role in the anti-war movements…show more content…
The advantages and disadvantages of going to Canada along with the fear of fighting in a war were factors that contributed to the decision a person who was drafted would have to make. While O’Brien crosses the rainy river, he thinks about society 's judgment: “All those eyes on me—the town, the whole universe—and I couldn 't risk the embarrassment. It was as if there were an audience to my life, that swirl of faces along the river, and in my head I could hear people screaming at me. Traitor! they yelled. Turncoat! Pussy! I felt myself blush. I couldn 't tolerate it. I couldn 't endure the mockery, or the disgrace, or the patriotic ridicule” (O’Brien 59). America, regardless of the pro and anti-war groups, was a very patriotic nation. The desire and moral obligation to serve one 's country was a social norm inherited from previous generations (Hagan 9). Human beings have a natural ability to act in a way that allows them to win in a “social setting”, which means that a person makes decisions heavily based on their surroundings (Biddle 1057-079).The decisions we make are affected by the opinions of others. Peer pressure plays a prominent role in decision making, especially during the adolescent ages (Bault para 3). Tim O’Brien allowed the fear of war and death be outweighed by his fear of being shamed by his
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