“On the Rainy River”, Characterization Essay
Do you ever get the feeling that you are stuck between a rock and a hard place? Tim O’Brien wrote “On the Rainy River” a personal narrative, about his embarrassing days after being drafted into the Vietnam War. This short story tells about his feelings and thoughts while in seclusion after running away. His cowardliness, his self-turmoil and one old man named Elroy Berdahl who gave Tim O’Brien the courage he needed in the end, take part in this narrative.
Tim O’Brien didn’t really believe in war and thought that he was too good and too smart to go to war. When he was drafted in June of 1968, he felt angry and confused. Even numb and frustrated. He had been planning to go to Harvard and had been in Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude. He was even the student body president. (269) He had supported Gene McCarthy about the uselessness of the Vietnam War in college. Tim hated camping, Boy Scouts and blood made him queasy. (269) So why draft him? This played through his mind over and over making him sick and delusional. At one point while working he just snapped. It happened while he was at work in a Armour meat-packing plant in the summer of 1968 in his home town of Worthington, Minnesota. (269) He drove home, packed his things and drove for the border of Canada.
It doesn’t matter who it is, it could even be a complete stranger, but there is always someone looking out for you. After running away Tim came across the Tip Top Lodge in northern Minnesota. He stayed six days there with an old man named Elroy Berdahl. (273) The two men played scrabble, hiked, listened to records and got the lodge ready for winter. (273) Throughout those six days Elroy said nothing about the war. Elroy never asked about why he was there. He was careful not to say anything that would spook and/or scare Tim away. Tim was barely able to sleep or eat. When he could eat he could hardly keep it down. Still while chopping wood or even while eating...