Bravery in The Things They Carried
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
- Winston Churchill (Churchill) Without being courageous, you cannot be brave. According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, courage is “a mental or moral strength to venture, preserve, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.” Everyday people show bravery. Every great thing we set out to do, whether its raise children, start a business, study for a degree, or change the world, takes bravery. All through history, there have been men or women who have been called brave, but their deeds have been vastly different. Neither their lives nor their goals have been the same, so we cannot define how brave a person is by their achievements alone. Martin Luther King was seen as courageous, for his commitment to ending the oppression of his people. Helen Keller was brave as well, for having the courage to live her life, in spite of being blind and deaf. Businessmen have been courageous, as have soldiers on the field of battle. The soldiers in The Things They Carried showed bravery every single day and in every single thing that they did during their time before, during, and after the Vietnam War. First, the protagonist in the novel, Tim O’Brien, shows bravery in several ways. Before the war O’Brien shows bravery. Entering the war, alone, was an act of bravery that O’Brien performed. In 1968, Tim was “drafted to fight a war [that he] hated (38).” He did not believe in what the war stood for, because he did not understand it. He believed that he was “too smart, too compassionate, too everything (39)” to be in the war. O’Brien hated war, and he did not think he could stand it being on the front lines of it. He “was no soldier. [He] hated Boy Scouts. [He] hated dirt and tents and mosquitoes. The sight of blood made [him] queasy, and [he] couldn’t tolerate authority, and [he] didn’t know a rifle from a slingshot (39-40).” O’Brien had the choice to run away...
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