Tim O Brien On The Rainy River Summary

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Did I Know That? There is an unspoken policy present in our way abouts to life. Similar to a current, it influences our actions, words, and thoughts, rerouting what personal desires we possess into a common convention. This idealized standard to the way of living oppresses us into conformality, and only in the process of veering from this conformality do we reveal our individual characteristics and beliefs. “On the Rainy River”, a short story by Tim O’Brien portrays this idea. As the story progresses and O’Brien’s circumstances fluctuate, we are shown through his actions and choices the outcomes of an undesired ideal standard and the dilemma it is accompanied with. As the Vietnam War draft was issued in 1968, we are shown O’Brien’s competing choices in an attempt to live unconstrained from the notice. As a graduate, his desires to join the State Department as a diplomat was challenged by…show more content…
In “fighting for the wrong war”, O’Brien becomes a coward, and only in fighting for the right wars will he find his courage. In saying so, the war O’Brien desires to fight is not one of bloodshed and distraught, but that of reason, just, and knowledge. He “detested [others] blind, thoughtless, automatic acquiescence,” and held every individual at war responsible to God. “Politically naive,” but educated of the fundamentals of a war simply to stop Communist, O’Brien held the strong belief that fighting for a war that was undesired and not understood was intolerable. Although he survived the war, “It [was] not a happy ending,” as in the act of going to war, O’Brien depleted what “finited quantities” of courage he possessed. It is implied through his reactions and beliefs that in taking on that of a resolved attitude, and complying not towards conventions, but based on individual desires, will we find courage in the
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