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The Things They Carried


The classic, ground-breaking meditation on war and the redemptive power of ...
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O'Brien considers fleeing to Canada to avoid the draft. Was his anger justified? Do you see any parallels with today's society? What would you have done?

Created: 03/04/20

Replies: 9

Posted Mar. 04, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 2732

O'Brien considers fleeing to Canada to avoid the draft. Was his anger justified? Do you see any parallels with today's society? What would you have done?

O'Brien considers fleeing to Canada to avoid the draft. He rants about the people in his town who didn't really know much about Vietnam or the war but supported it regardless. Was his anger justified? Do you see any parallels with today's society? In what ways do you think citizens today do a better or worse job of staying informed about world events? In O'Brien's shoes, what would you have done? How would you respond if this was your son? Your friend? A neighbor?


Posted Mar. 07, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Tired Bookreader

Join Date: 08/19/11

Posts: 172

RE: O'Brien considers fleeing to Canada to avoid the draft. Was his anger justified? Do you see any parallels with today's society? What would you have done?

Of course the anger was justified. To this day, no one can explain why we had to lose so many wonderful young men and women to this conflict. The government tells its people so little. Today, we have a person in the white house who couldn't tell the truth about anything...I can't imagine him being there during the Viet Nam incident...how much worse could it have been?


Posted Mar. 09, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
rosemaryk

Join Date: 08/29/11

Posts: 61

Canada--yes or no?

I thought the entire Canada paradox was presented beautifully. Everything was explained so well. . .all of the narrator's indecisiveness.

The older man was portrayed perfectly.

It all felt so natural. No other solution would really have worked. Or, so it seems. . .

The narrator's anger was completely justified. He really didn't know what to do. He made a decisive move: was it really what was called for? What was called for? NOTHING.

But the narrator followed his instincts. . .


Posted Mar. 09, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dorinned

Join Date: 10/13/14

Posts: 128

RE: O'Brien considers fleeing to Canada to avoid the draft. Was his anger justified? Do you see any parallels with today's society? What would you have done?

On the Rainy River was one of my favorite stories. O'Brien's conflicted self and his luck at finding a wise man like Elroy Berdahl at the Tip Top Lodge near the Canadian border was with him. Having been born and raised in Iowa, I can relate to O'Brien's young aspirations and his desire to live the life he had planned rather than enlist or be drafted with the ugly war that was going in Viet Nam at the time. His anger was justified - how can it be fair to ask him to interrupt his lofty plans to go and wallow in the mud and danger of warfare in Viet Nam? I'd like to think that if I were in O'Brien's shoes, I might have done the same thing, but I probably wouldn't have gone so far as to go to the Canadian border to try to sneak over - I like to think I would have sucked it up and accepted the call to the draft. Being a woman, however, I did not have the same dangerous status as O'Brien and never had to consider such action.


Posted Mar. 09, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
nancyh

Join Date: 06/25/13

Posts: 297

RE: O'Brien considers fleeing to Canada to avoid the draft. Was his anger justified? Do you see any parallels with today's society? What would you have done?

I now think it was definitely justified. I do not know now I thought at the time. I was young and I think I felt it was a cop-out. At that time, we did not know a lot about the reason for war and felt the government must know what they were doing. I hope we are much more informed now. Our press certainly makes us ask questions. Knowing what I know now, if I had a son that age I would probably send him to Canada.


Posted Mar. 10, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
beckys

Join Date: 08/12/16

Posts: 125

RE: O'Brien considers fleeing to Canada to avoid the draft. Was his anger justified? Do you see any parallels with today's society? What would you have done?

The story of the older man helping him grapple with this decision was so moving to me .. I most certainly understand the thought to go to Canada! I have a 20 year old son and I can’t imagine how i would feel if he was called to serve in a war that I felt had no meaning or reason. Being a woman, I never have felt like I would have to make the decision to go to war. My father is a veteran of 3 wars, so I would have a hard time not serving if called.. but so hard to make that decision especially if you’re not sure what the war would gain.


Posted Mar. 10, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
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carmelina

Join Date: 08/04/11

Posts: 6

RE: O'Brien considers fleeing to Canada to avoid the draft. Was his anger justified? Do you see any parallels with today's society? What would you have done?

How scary it must be for a very young man to be sent to a war of any kind let alone one that was so unpopular. Just think they were just kids and scared and inexperienced. He wanted to run away but he felt he would lose his family and their respect. In the end he went, but he could have come home in a box like almost 58,000 other young Americans.
That is way more than Afghanistan and Iraq combined. I feel his fear was justified and if it were me, I would have gone but not happily.


Posted Mar. 15, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
BuffaloGirl

Join Date: 01/13/18

Posts: 127

RE: O'Brien considers fleeing to Canada to avoid the draft. Was his anger justified? Do you see any parallels with today's society? What would you have done?

Being a girl in college at that time, I didn't have to face what he had to. The draft was still going on and only men were eligible so I can't put myself in his shoes and say whether his anger was justified or not. I was raised in a household where my father served in WWII when he was drafted at age 38. The attitude in our home was that if your country called on you, you went. As far as parallels to today, we are still fighting non-declared guerilla wars, but those serving are enlisted, not drafted which would lead one to believe that they want to serve, rather than are required to serve.


Posted Mar. 29, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Suzanne

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 280

RE: O'Brien considers fleeing to Canada to avoid the draft. Was his anger justified? Do you see any parallels with today's society? What would you have done?

A nephew went to Canada to prevent his being called to Vietnam. My brother, his father, actually assisted him in many ways. Our dad, my nephew's grandfather, was so very upset over the situation. He had a hard time and never accepted my nephew again. He did so my brother. Dad's reasoning was he had done his service.

My nephew stayed in Canada and made it his home. We never saw him again.


Posted Apr. 01, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
joang

Join Date: 05/17/12

Posts: 81

RE: O'Brien considers fleeing to Canada to avoid the draft. Was his anger justified? Do you see any parallels with today's society? What would you have done?

On the Rainy River was perhaps my favorite story also. O'Brien is so eloquent in describing his thoughts, feelings and actions related to the arrival of the draft notice, his escape to Canada and meeting Elroy. The range of emotions from shock, anger, despair then acceptance are all there. To him, fleeing to Canada seemed justified. He did not believe in this war and importantly did not want to die! He saw his future possibly being cut short.
I often wonder if things would have been different regarding the Viet Nam War if there was not a draft. Today, the young men and women enlist. We have a voluntary military. No one is mandated to serve. I am grateful also as a mother of a son. He had a choice to serve. Had he not had a choice I am sure I would have been angry also. I also wonder why the Viet Nam war was so unpopular. Was it the tenor of the 60s..."make love not war" or was the draft a major player?


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