Personal Response on the "On the Rainy River"

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ELA 30 – 1: Personal Essay
October 16, 2012
Gaddiel O. Matira

Is it fair to hold individuals responsible for a choice society pressured them to make?

Canada might have been one of the best places in the world but for me and Tim, Canada is a lot more than that. For Tim O’ Brien’s “On the Rainy River”, Canada is freedom: freedom from the draft letter that pressures him to go to war, freedom from the war that he never understood and always hated, freedom from the dirt, tent, and mosquitoes, freedom from that dense greasy pig-stink and blood clots in the slaughterhouse, freedom from his country, and freedom from his conscience… or is it? On the other hand, for me, Canada is separation: separation from the friends and family who I most dearly loved and looked up to, separation from the institutions which developed the principles and character I have today, separation from the culture, language, and traditions that I grew up in, separation from the life I have lived for seventeen years, and separation from the dreams I have dreamed for seventeen years… or is it? Tim and I might have totally different definition of Canada but for both of us the decision to move or to stay was merely just a choice. I lived seventeen years of my life in the Philippines, four years of which is with my mom separated from us because she had to move and work in Canada while my dad also seemingly separated from us since he had to work longer hours shifting his loneliness and longing for my mom, to his focus on his daily counseling and paper work. Within those four years, my mom was able to cope with the sadness of being homesick by being able to talk to us every day for an hour before we went to school in the morning and a couple of hours before we went to sleep at night. Those hours of conversation made us feel like we were closer than we actually were. My mom became more well-informed with every detail of our daily activities from the morning we woke up and got ready for school up...
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