Essay sample - Ethical evaluation of The Things They Carried "On the Rainy River"

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The protagonist, Tim O’Brien, in The Things They Carried felt ashamed. He had been dreaming for the past twenty years about his nightmare of shame. He felt guilty and wanted to write down his experiences to analyze and explain his past. …

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The protagonist, Tim O’Brien, in The Things They Carried felt ashamed. He had been dreaming for the past twenty years about his nightmare of shame. He felt guilty and wanted to write down his experiences to analyze and explain his past. All along, he had assumed that he had the moral courage in reserves and would be able to draw upon his well of courage when the right time came. If he were a coward right from the start, he would not have written this; ‘All of us, I suppose, like to believe that in a moral emergency we will behave like the heroes of our youth, bravely and forthrightly, without thought of personal loss or discredit. (O’Brien 39). Tim wrote that he was drafted to fight a war he hated. He gave a lengthy explanation about a page long on why he believed that the Vietnam war was uncalled for. That maybe why he chose to run away. He was confused on why the war was being fought. At this stage, we read that underlying tone that O’Brien was not a mindless follower of America’s public policy. He confirmed this when he wrote later on that he was a liberal, meaning he valued his individual liberty as his primary political concern. (O’Brien 42).Ironically, he valued his liberty for himself and failed to fight for his beliefs. He did not want to fight for the liberty of other individuals since that would jeopardize his own liberty. He reasoned that the politicians should fight in their own war, enlist their relatives into combat and be responsible for the lives of their loved ones that they put in the firing line. ...
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