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Copy of On the Rainy River
Transcript of Copy of On the Rainy River
Tim O'Brien shares his own life events through a fictional representation of his own reality.
Option 1: Go to War
The decision of going to war would mean sacrificing personal morality for societal status
Egotism: O'Brien's ego versus superego
Option 2: Run
As we read, O'Brien first decides to run
Running away emulates guilt, shame, and extenuates the role of embarrassment
"...you don't go to war without knowing why."
"There should be a law, I thought. If you support a war, if you think it's worth the price, that's fine, but you have to put your own life on the line."
Importance of the River
The river is symbolic of choice, free-will, and self-identification.
As O'Brien sought refuge in Minnesota, he begins to discover himself
Elroy helps in this as his role of a wise, fatherly figure.
The climax occurs as Elroy and O'Brien fish on the river.
"What would you do?"
O'Brien decides to go to war due to societal pressures, embarrassment, and shame.
"I would go to the war--I would kill and maybe die--because I was embarrassed not to."
The cowardice of self-morality causes him to display an outward sense of bravery
Born October 1, 1946
On June 17, 1968 he receives a draft notice which changes his life
Graduated Malcalester College in political science
Famous for writing
The Things They Carried
Rain: The rain is significant due to its symbolism of oppression. The ever-present stress in O'Brien's life can be visualized as rain.
River: The river is representative of choice. However, it also had additional substance. The current of a river is a metaphorically related to the conformity of individuals in society, similar to O'Brien.