Friday, January 21, 2011

They died so as not to die of embarrassment.

I have no idea how this post is going to turn out. There are so many things that are going through my head at the moment but if there is one thing I have learned is that it always sorts out when I write. Maybe I could even say that the truth, the way I see it, sorts out.

I have always said that you can only write about what you know. I was excited when I found it on page 33 in the book "The Things They Carried". It is found in the 2nd to the last paragraph. "You take your material where you find it, which is in your life". So far from what I have read in this book I can see that in some way O'Brien has an understanding of what he is writing. He is writing about things that only a war vet can understand. He even feels, touches, and reacts to it as if it is true or because it is true.

Now I want to switch gears to a major truth that Tim O'Brien believes and I think O'Brien is going to carry through the book. "They died so as not to die of embarrassment" (20). I think part of what the character Tim believes is that most if not all the men in this war only fought in this war out of fear of being called a coward.

My favorite part of the book so far is the story of when Tim got his draft papers. We learn that he is against the war and does not understand why people support it because it doesn't seem to have any real purpose. When he gets the draft paper and eventually decides to run away he is faced with the reality of what he is doing. "Intellect had run up against emotion" (49). His belief of the truth was that the war was wrong and when faced with the reality that he will have to be in the war he was tested on what he would do with what he believed to be true. He could be brave and run from the war and run from the humiliation of being called a coward or he could become a coward so not to be called a coward and join the war. So the very thing that seems cowardly is brave because of the way he sees the truth of war. "I was ashamed of my conscience, ashamed to be doing the right thing" (49). I liked the way this story was told because it shows us very clearly the struggle Tim had inside.

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