Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Exploration 5 - Andrew Balsiger

  1. The story On The Rainy River has meant the most so far because I don’t think I would want to go off to fight a war that did not make any sense to me. Tim O’brien talks about how the war doesn’t make any sense and says “Knowledge, of course, is always imperfect, but it seemed to me that when a nation goes to war it must have reasonable confidence in the justice and imperative of its cause. You can’t fix your mistakes. Once people are dead, you can’t make them make them undead.” Overall he doesn’t believe the war should be fought and does not want to go off to an almost certain death for a mistake of a war. If I was in his situation it would be very hard to give up my life to go fight a war that didn’t make sense.

  1. I think the character I have connected with the best is Rat Kiley because he has had a hard time dealing with the stresses of war. I can only imagine how stressful a war environment is and I do not think I would be able to handle it very well. It really stood out to me when Rat lost his best friend Curt Lemon and took out his anger on the baby buffalo. I feel like if something that traumatic happened to in a war environment I would take out my anger on something else as well.

  1. I like how he characterizes the soldiers with their one greatest fear. He continuously talks about how the soldier was always carrying his greatest fear, which was the fear of embarrassment when he tells the story from before the war. It really shows how true that statement was, and how no matter how many physical items they carried they wouldn’t shy away because they were scared of the embarrassment. Most everyone who went to war went because they would be embarrassed not to go. This not only helps explain why they do what they do, but it also helps characterize the time period and how people thought during the war.

  1. In the story spin Tim talks about how bad things never stop happening during the war and then says “But the war wasn’t all that way. Like when Ted Lavender went too heavy on the tranquilizers. “How’s the war today?” somebody would say, and Ted Lavender would give a soft, spacey smile and say. “Mellow, man. We got ourselves a nice mellow war today.” I like how he included this paradox. It really shows that no matter how desperate their situation was in Vietnam they tried to make it better and make it seem like the war wasn’t actually that bad.


  1. I liked that you addressed how Tim explains throughout the novel that though the soldiers may be scared of the war, it's not really only the war that they are afraid of but the embarrassment of shying away from a situation and not being couragous.

  2. good quote. i like how Lavender was very relaxed about the war at points.


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