In the novel, The Things They Carried, was written by Tim O’Brien. This book was published in the United States during the 20th century. This book took place in Vietnam. In The Things They Carried there is a short story called “On the Rainy River”. This story took place in the summer of 1968 in Worthington, Minnesota ( O’Brien’s hometown ), and the Tip Top Lodge on the Rainy River, which is on the border of Canada and Minnesota.
One theme that concern “On The Rainy River” is courage.
Courage comes when we are ready to face something like, in the case of O’Brien, going to war. His theory of courage might be the fact that, even though he did not want to go to war, he went anyway because he was afraid that everyone in his own town might call him a coward for escaping the war. His intentions were to go to Canada and avoid the draft. He changed his mind and went to war because he did not want to let down his family.
His theory made sense since he did something he was afraid of doing. He basically ‘steadily increased his moral capital in preparation for that day when the account must be drawn down.’. After thinking about what to do, he was courageous enough to take the decision of going to war.
Another theme that concerns “On the Rainy River” is fear. When Tim O’Brien gets his notice draft he decides not to go to war, because he is afraid of a lot of different things.
He feared to lose the respect of his parent. He fears the law. He fears ridicule and censure. Tim says my hometown was a conservative little spots on the prairie, a place where tradition counted, and it was easy to imagine people sitting around a table down at the old Gobbler Cafe on Main Street, coffee cups poised, the conversation slowly zeroing in on the young O’Brien kid the damned sissy had taken off to Canada (O’Brien 43). He did not just fear the thought of not being good enough, but the fear of being looked down upon for not going to war, fear of losing the respect of the people he cares about the most.
A dominant tone of this chapter could be described as reflective. “I remember taking a hot shower. I remember packing a suitcase and carrying it out to the kitchen, standing very still for a few minutes, looking carefully at the familiar objects all around me” (O’Brien 44). This is an example of the author tone because he is reflective about his past. He is remembering when he decided to flee to Canada and what he did during that day.
A strong passage in the chapter relates to O’Brien. “What would you do? Would you jump? Would you feel pity for yourself? Would you think about your family and your childhood and your dreams and all you are leaving behind? Would it hurt? Would it feel like dying? Would you cry as I did? I tried to swallow it back. I tried to smile, except I was crying” (O’Brien 54). This is an example of the mood because the narrator is trying to get us to feel how he feels. It makes the reader put themselves in his perspective. Readers feel how the narrator feels which, in this case, is sad and scared.
As I think about this passage, I started to connect, because I know what it feels like to make a decision. When I think about this passage I imagined what if I was in that situation. I ask myself what would I do. Would I make the same decision that O’Brien make? or not?