Tim O'brien Essay

2399 words - 10 pages

Tim O'Brien William Timothy O'Brien was born on October 1st, 1946 in Austin, Minnesota. He planned on having a good career, and to follow in the foot- steps of his parents. His father, William, was an insurance agent, and his mother, Ava, was a school teacher. Tim graduated from high school, and then went on to college to continue his education. At the age of twenty-two, he was drafted into the United States Armed Forces to fight during the conflict in Vietnam. Tim was less than thrilled. Being a soldier in the Army was not something that he saw himself doing. He saw himself being a writer, trying to earn himself a good living. As he wrote in one of his stories in the book The Things They Carried, a week before he was supposed to be shipped out to boot camp, he took his car and drove up North. He spent about four days there, wondering whether or not he should flee to Canada, which was only about 15 yards away from where he stood. He ended up going back home, because he didn't want to be known as a coward. He didn't want to go to Vietnam. There was a lot of what we would now call "peer pressure". There were many anti-war movements going on, and they also made it very hard on a new soldier. They were wondering if they were making some big mistake. There were those who wanted to fight, and then there were those who didn't care if they went, or not. Then there were those who knew in their hearts that it was the biggest mistake they would ever make. O'Brien served in the Army from the year 1968 through 1970, during which time he earned the rank of sergeant. He also received a Purple Heart, from an injury that was sustained during the time he spent in Vietnam. After he returned home from Vietnam in 1970, he decided to finish off his college education at Harvard University. He went on to become a writer, and also a national affairs reporter for the Washington Post. A few years later, he was a teacher at the Breadloaf Writers Conference, in Ripton, Vermont. Tim O'Brien is very well known for his fictional, yet still very emotional, accounts of the Vietnam war. He bases his writings on his own experiences, and those experiences not only reflect on what he may have felt physically, but also emotionally, and mentally. Many soldiers who returned from the battlefields had emotional problems to accompany their already mixed-up feelings. The following statement was taken from The Progressive, December of 1994: "Besides the well-deserved guilt and shame and anguish evoked by the- war, Americans can take rightful pride in two great national achievements: The anti-war movements, and the other is the great literature that was produced by the war." One of O'Briens' novels, The Things They Carried, was one of his more emotional books. Filled with a collection of short stories, this book "carried" much more than the usual blood-and-gore tales found in books relating to war. He described his feelings as he killed one man: "A young man came out of the morning fog," he...

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