Rivers Flowing through "On the Rainy River" and the "Red Convertible"
Rivers constantly flow, never stopping to take a break. Rivers symbolize no beginning or end. They are rather continuousness and ever gushing, sometimes elegantly and other times rigidly. Rivers are powerful and almighty, carrying with it anything that crosses its path and stopping only to none. Rivers define boundaries, and create obstacles for people when they encounter one another. In "On the Rainy River" by Tim O'Brien and "The Red Convertible" by Louise Erdrich, rivers continuously flow through these novels, symbolizing very similar yet very different meanings.
Before even cracking the book open, the reader automatically understands that there is an importance about the river in "On the Rainy River." In this story, O'Brien struggles with himself as being cowardice or heroic after receiving a draft notice for the Vietnam War. Once Tim decides to leave he ends up in an old cabin on a river dividing the United States from Canada. Here the river symbolizes a choice for freedom. He could choose to cross this confining river and flee the country and please himself and his beliefs. Or, he could only watch the river and dream of its possibilities if he would enter it. However, once Tim finally does enter the river, his once thought sure decision begins to waive. The river becomes a neutral ground where both of his choices are placed on either side of him. The river allows him to look at both of them at the same time without any favoritism shown. Tim then decides to be a coward and return to the United States and fight the war in which he was totally against. However, the river gave Tim the opportunity of choice. His thoughts of heroism drowned and were wafted away from him. But ultimately because the river was so neutral, Tim was able to make his decision sincerely.
Unlike "On the Rainy River," it is not apparent that there is a river flowing through "The Red Convertible,"...
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