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The Things They Carried


The classic, ground-breaking meditation on war and the redemptive power of ...
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What courageous acts did you find in the book, if any? O'Brien says: "I was a coward. I went to war"? Do you agree?

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: 3058

What courageous acts did you find in the book, if any? O'Brien says: "I was a coward. I went to war"? Do you agree?

What courageous acts did you find in the book, if any? O'Brien says: "I was a coward. I went to war"? Do you agree?


Posted Mar. 11, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
rebeccar

Join Date: 03/13/12

Posts: 496

RE: What courageous acts did you find in the book, if any? O'Brien says: "I was a coward. I went to war"? Do you agree?

I DO NOT agree that going to war was the cowardly act. O'Brien may not have gone the last few yards to cross into Canada to escape going to Canada, and I suppose someone could argue that he was not brave enough to risk his USA citizenship; however, I tend to look at his decision as one that truly weighed the long-term consequences.


Posted Mar. 11, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Kate B

Join Date: 03/11/20

Posts: 11

RE: What courageous acts did you find in the book, if any? O'Brien says: "I was a coward. I went to war"? Do you agree?

I think I understand this feeling. He went to war because he couldn't make himself cross the Canadian border - he probably had childhood friends who had gone to war and who had come back changed - or not come back at all. I think he might have felt that leaving the U.S. was a choice that, in the end, he could not justify to himself. He was NOT a coward, but he really didn't know what war was like, and his thoughts of shame were stronger than his fears.


Posted Mar. 11, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
BuffaloGirl

Join Date: 01/13/18

Posts: 150

RE: What courageous acts did you find in the book, if any? O'Brien says: "I was a coward. I went to war"? Do you agree?

O’Brien’s statement is one I can’t agree with. He was not a coward to honor his parents and his country, even though many citizens of his country treated the returning soldiers as pariahs.


Posted Mar. 11, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
nancyh

Join Date: 06/25/13

Posts: 327

RE: What courageous acts did you find in the book, if any? O'Brien says: "I was a coward. I went to war"? Do you agree?

He" thought about going to Canada, but could not make himself do it. He went to war because he could not accept the choice. I do not think that was cowardly. I do not believe I could have gone to Canada either. Many times I have said, and heard others say, if such happens "I came moving to Canada", but they do not,


Posted Mar. 11, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Kate B

Join Date: 03/11/20

Posts: 11

RE: What courageous acts did you find in the book, if any? O'Brien says: "I was a coward. I went to war"? Do you agree?

Nancy, I agree. I have believed since the 60s that my mind would not have survived a tour of duty in Vietnam. Today I asked a friend who fought in Vietnam if he thought The Things They Carried described the experience realistically. He said definitely yes.


Posted Mar. 14, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ritah

Join Date: 05/26/11

Posts: 67

RE: What courageous acts did you find in the book, if any? O'Brien says: "I was a coward. I went to war"? Do you agree?

Going to Vietnam was most definitely not an act of cowardice. We had a draft then, many were exempted for various reasons and there was still a post-war belief that the US was undefeatable. I cannot imagine that anyone goes into a war without some fear. He did what he felt was right despite his fear. That is not cowardice though it might not be bravery, either. A sense of duty and honor was deep inside him and pulled him back from his chance to go to Canada - it just was who he was.


Posted Mar. 30, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dorothygo

Join Date: 03/27/13

Posts: 23

RE: What courageous acts did you find in the book, if any? O'Brien says: "I was a coward. I went to war"? Do you agree?

Every act seemed courageous to me. These young men could never have imagined the horrors or challenges they would face. At the point where he spent time in Canada, the decision to flee would have seemed cowardice and would have followed him throughout life. I certainly do not agree with his statement, but it is an alternative way of thinking about the draft.


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

Join Date: 05/17/12

Posts: 86

RE: What courageous acts did you find in the book, if any? O'Brien says: "I was a coward. I went to war"? Do you agree?

This quote made me think for a while....it is the antithesis of my definition of a coward. Cowards do not go forward into dangerous or unpleasant situations but instead withdraw or do not go at all. However was Tim's definition based upon his thoughts of cowardice of not being able to go to Canada?; of running away from his moral convictions about war? He states that he fears the war but fears exile and all that it means to him, his family and his community. That struggle was very well depicted in the chapter "On the Rainy River". The raw emotions in this chapter are very powerful.


Posted Apr. 05, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
normar

Join Date: 05/15/11

Posts: 36

RE: What courageous acts did you find in the book, if any? O'Brien says: "I was a coward. I went to war"? Do you agree?

I don’t think O’Brien is a coward. He was terrified to go to war but he did


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