Tim OBrien Essay

This essay has a total of 1341 words and 5 pages.

Tim OBrien




Tim O'Brien

The terms fear and courage played a major role in the life experience of Tim O'Brien. Like
most other young males who just graduated college, in 1968 after graduating from
Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, he sought different opportunities in hopes of
becoming independent and gaining a career. Before these hopes of opportunity are realized,
however, he receives notice that he has been drafted to the Vietnam War. He acknowledges
the tragedies that may occur in war, and fears for his life. Generally courage is a way of
overcoming fear. However, in O'Brien's supreme perspective, he reveals his extreme fear of
courage. He finds himself in a "moral emergency" where he must analyze his perception of
courage in order to make such a critical decision (901). After his analysis, he felt that
as much as he feared loosing his life in war, he couldn’t reveal that reason for not
wanting to go to war to avoid any type of humiliation. He doubted his life if he pursued
on with the process of war and therefore made excuses for himself to stay out. Because
O'Brien didn't accept the challenge to follow his heart, he took the easy way out and went
to war. His lack of courage forced him to live under the circumstance of not believing in
him and they’re of continuing by facing the results of his fear of war.

O'Brien compared his thoughts of fear and courage and believed that he had the potential
to be full of courage, but does not realize the effort he must contribute. He doesn’t
realize that becoming independent is process he must go through in order to make a
difference and solve his problems. He doesn’t want to attend war because he fears it, what
in the world can he do? Many can answer what they could do but O’Brien was in doubt of
what he could do for himself in order to be out of such of a dilemma. He writes "Courage,
I seemed to think, comes to us in finite quantities, like an inheritance, and by being
frugal and stashing it away and letting it earn interest, we steadily increase our moral
capital in preparation for that day when the account must be drawn down" (903). He feels
annoyed that either fortunate enough to be inherently courageous, or it is impossible to
attain. He considers himself to be unfortunate because he will never be courageous, and
therefore begins to fear courage itself. At least his mentality makes him think he is
incapable of obtaining any type of courageous stand. Why does he really think this of
himself? Could he just be mentally ill? It’s a question that he probably asked himself
quite a few times. The reason for these type of feelings is simply because he has showed
never to have really taken a stand for himself in any case. Therefore he could not handle
the situation from experience. "It was kind of a schizophrenia. A moral split. I couldn't
make up my mind" (901). This quote shows that fear of him had a major impact in his life.
He could not stand by his beliefs and therefore chose to stand by someone else’s decision
for him. O'Brien believed that either you stood by your conscience, or you were a coward.
Since he could not follow his conscience he was determined that he was a coward.

Continues for 3 more pages >>




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