Essay about The Heroes of Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried

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The Heroes of Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried

The word "hero" is so often used to describe people who overcome great difficulties and rise to the challenge that is set before them without even considering the overwhelming odds they are up against. In our culture, heroes are glorified in literature and in the media in various shapes and forms. However, I believe that many of the greatest heroes in our society never receive the credit that they deserve, much less fame or publicity. I believe that a hero is simply someone who stands up for what he/she believes in. A person does not have to rush into a burning building and save someone's life to be a hero. Someone who is a true friend can be a hero. A hero is someone who makes a
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Though Berdahl never asks him, he knows that O'Brien is likely to be running from the draft. As Vietnam veteran Jim Carter stated, "People left and went to Canada to avoid the draft. The draft was looked at as unfair." Berdahl becomes a hero to O'Brien because he gives him time to think. He realizes that this is a decision that O'Brien must make on his own and does not interfere but simply gives him food, a place to stay and a job, which is the most heroic thing anyone could have done for him. O’Brien needs time to think and Berdahl gives him this great gift of quiet time in which to think that his family and friends could not give him.

At one point, Berdahl takes O'Brien on the Rainy River where he sees the Canadian border, which represents freedom from the draft. He is virtually giving O'Brien the opportunity to run if he chooses to, but he does not. O'Brien admits to having cried and he was ashamed for not swimming and escaping across the border. Yet through it all, Berdahl does not ridicule him or attempt to persuade him to make any decisions. He knows that this is an important decision for O'Brien and one that he has to face for himself. By his presence and his consideration for O'Brien, Berdahl makes a tremendous impact upon O'Brien and becomes a hero in the eyes of his fellow man.

In Jarraway's critical essay, he comments upon O'Brien's colorful symbolism in which he uses human waste to represent the "larger

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