Monday, January 25, 2010

On the Rainy River

A chapter I really found interesting was the chapter called, "On the Rainy River." In this chapter Tim O' Brien escapes to the Tip Top Lodge, where he meets Elroy Berdahl. He describes him in such detail that I can almost picture every conversation they had, every meal they ate together and every activity they did. Before Tim decides to leave he struggles with the fact that he, of all people, was selected by the draft to go to war. A war he didn't even believe in. He almost cannot handle the fact that someone as intellegent as him, and well educated and goal oreinted is going to be in the war. He mentioned that he wouldn't minf fighting, if it was something he believed in. So Tim plans to escape. One day after work he escapes. While at the Tip Top Lodge he is faced with a decsion. Escape to Canada where he can be free of this, or own up and go back to where he came from. There is a lot of reflection in this chapter. It stood out to me because in my life there have been several things that have come along that I do not necessarily want to do, and the thought of running away has crossed my mind just to avoid the situation but when faced with actually making the decision I can never make myself runaway from the problem. It only would make things worse. O' Brien faces fear directly in the eye with the help from his new friend Elroy. Elroy never asked questions, never made judgements, he was just there for O' Brien. And that is what he needed.

War is very much physical, but there is also so much going on in the mind as well and we get a very good idea of this from the book. I feel as though no one can ever truly be prepared for some of the things they are going to see in war such as, losing a best friend. The war changes people. Norman killed himself because he couldn't handle life after war. Many also questioned what they would do after the war was over. I feel like people can't go back to living life the way they ever have before. I feel like you get a new perspective on life. Sometimes people can handle to post tramatic stress and others can't. Some struggle to ever really get back to the person they ever war and that what scares me about war. You don't often hear about the stories after war. I recently just had someone from my high school who was in Iraq kill himself on Thanksgiving because he was still hurting from the war he had been in. The war changes you and the book does a good job putting that into perspective.


  1. I agree. I think that it's sad the way the war changes the men in this book. Some of them end up doing terrible things I think they wouldn't do in any other situation and some just can't handle the responsibility.

  2. I wrote about this story too and I agree. I said it was a good story to relate your own life to which I think you did well. Everyone has to face decisions in life, which path they choose is what makes the difference. I think sometimes people feel like it's more courageous to run away and be free of their past life, but in most cases the more courageous thing to do is face your fears and just do what needs to be done no matter how much you don't want to do it.

  3. I found it amazing that Elroy never said anything or asked any questions to Tim. He just hinted to things by his actions. He seemed like a very wise man.