On The Rainy River

1400 Words 6 Pages
Courage can be defined in a variety of ways; it all depends on what an individual perceives as courageous, and the different aspects of courage they find most important. In the short story “On the Rainy River” Tim O’Brien focuses on the action side of courage. Action meaning the big and small tasks in a person’s life that determine their courageousness. The actions an individual takes when caught in a difficult situation is what defines them as brave. For example, when presenting the Medal of Honor to Staff Sergeant Ty Carter, President Obama concentrates on the physical aspect of courage. By adding personal detail to Sergeant Ty’s actions in battle, he helped the audience grasp what kind of deeds create physical valor. In the speech, there …show more content…
It is often the case that moral courage is left out. Individuals forget how difficult it can be to stay true to one’s beliefs in the face of confusing times. As well as how easy it is for people to cause others to change their viewpoints, especially with the Internet in today’s society. It is important to realize that physical courage would not be possible without ones morality pushing them to put their life at risk in order to save others. Individuals would have a difficult time starting, and accomplishing courageous acts without the basis of strong beliefs paving the road for them. Without moral courage, any other side of courage would not be …show more content…
He says, “This is one story I’ve never told before… To go into it, I’ve always thought, would only cause embarrassment for all of us, a sudden need to be elsewhere, which is the natural response to a confession” (O’Brien 172). It takes a brave person to not only share his deepest secret with someone, but to write it down on paper and share it with the world. There are not many people who can look embarrassment in the eye, and not coward down. Throughout the story, Tim O’Brien is forced to make some extremely difficult decisions, and it is his strong beliefs that the Vietnam War was being fought for uncertain reasons, which help him make those decisions. It seems each decision he makes comes with a repercussion. For instance, when drafted for the Vietnam War, he must stop hiding from his beliefs about the war, and realize that although they do not coincide with the opinions of the majority of society, the courageous act is to do what he reasons to be right. Although he is fighting a moral split, he must not let that stop him from doing what is the best for his well-being. Tim O’Brien says, “I feared the war, yes, but I also feared exile…I feared losing the respect of my parents. I feared the law. I feared ridicule and censure” (O’Brien 176). It is important to take into account what kind of internal conflict he was having with himself, and everything that was weighing down on him, to understand the amount of

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