Going to a war that is not believed in, or fleeing to Canada to start a new but shameful life. This was the decision that Tim O’Brien was forced to make at twenty-one years of age as he was drafted to go to the Vietnam War. In the chapter of “The Rainy River” in The Things They Carried he, being the author, used various ways of language to influence how dramatic this dilemma of his really was. He started by talking about the surroundings of the Rainy River and the overall feel that came to him that early morning.
He sped up the pace using examples that were easy for the reader to relate to.Some examples are “A stiff breeze came from the north, and I remember how the little fourteen-foot boat made sharp rocking motions as we pushed off from the dock. The current was fast.
” Also, “… just the trees and the sky and the water reaching out to nowhere. ” Using these techniques he made it seem like one of the worst feeling places to be, as if he did not know where he was going to end up in this unpredictable and sometimes cruel world.
He said that at sometimes he paid attention to anything, like when it is a frightening moment and every little sound makes one jump, when what to do next is unknown, just as the future is.He started out talking that way to enter the reader into the truthfulness of what was starting to come over him. The next bit of dramatic expression he used looked even closer, “..
. and I remember a sudden tightness in my chest as I looked up and watched the far shore come at me..
. ” He then rattled off any sight in the next twenty yards to the boarder, such as texture of the nature and wildlife in the path. He said he felt the tightness squeeze harder, all thoughts raced through his mind.The choice of jumping and swimming for it, but then what consequences would he face, pity for himself, leaving behind family, friends and dreams, pain? So he cried not knowing what else to do as he felt like he was drowning. He wrote about looking to the river and seeing his entire past of costumes at the age of seven, little league at the age of twelve, his first dance at the age of sixteen.
He saw fans cheering him on, his family watching closely, the town people encouraging him to fight for something they did not know anything about, even the United States Senate “urging me toward one shore or the other…Of the many ways the author was able to dramatize this passage through the language to express the toughness of the dilemma, the biggest and most relatable one was the ability to relate to things everyone has experienced.
The town, family, friends all putting pressure on one to do one thing or another, but in this case it could and probably would change the course of this young man’s life. It would be very difficult to find a tougher decision to make, and a more dramatic one.