Theme Of On The Rainy River

901 Words 4 Pages
When stuck between fighting and fleeing, it can become difficult to choose. This is the main theme of the story “On The Rainy River”, written by Tim O’Brien, which recalls the events and struggles from when he was drafted to fight in the Vietnam War. Applying a biographical lens to Tim O’Brien’s “On The Rainy River” reveals the relationship between how the narrator’s story can relate to Tim O’Brien’s life. You can clearly see the similarities between his views on the war and his conclusion to return home and fight in Tim’s life and the story. It also allows you to not that Tim included the narrator’s job at a pig slaughterhouse when in real life, Tim did not work at any place like that. The majority of this story is true and based on the author’s …show more content…
This is a major similarity between the author and the narrator’s life that is impossible to miss. At the end of the story the narrator made the important decision to “go to the war… because he was embarrassed not to,” (O’Brien 186). Tim made the same decision in real life and received a purple heart for being hit with shrapnel while fighting in Vietnam. However, we do not know if he made the decision to fight for the same reason. Tim may have realized the right reason to go to war instead of returning and fighting because “he couldn’t risk the embarrassment” (O’Brien 186) of leaving his family like the narrator did in the story. Tim made the decision for the narrator to return home and fight the war because that’s what he did in real life. However, he may have added the narrator’s embarrassment in order to add more emotion to the story or add the interesting factor that the narrator went to was for the wrong …show more content…
In the passage the narrator worked in a meat-packing factory and his job was described in great detail. He “was a declotter… [which meant that] by the time a carcass reached [his] spot in the line, the fluids [had] mostly drained out, everything except for thick clots of blood in the neck and upper chest cavity,” (O’Brien 174). He then explained that his job specifically was to remove those clots with a “kind of water gun” (O’Brien 174). He explained that his job was like “standing for eight hours a day under a lukewarm blood shower” (O’Brien 175). However, in real life, Tim did not work in any place like this. This raises the question of why he would add this into the story. Earlier in the story the narrator came up with the excuse that since he hated blood he shouldn’t have to fight in the war. The narrator’s job proves that he was just coming up with lies in an attempt to get himself out of the war. Tim may have added in this factor to show the reader that the narrator was coming up with unjustified reasons for why he couldn’t fight. He may have also added this factor to the story to connect the embarrassment of working at the pig slaughterhouse to the embarrassment of fighting in the war. This is a significant example of a change the author made about his life on purpose to help bring meaning to the

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