Short Story Unit Essay

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Tim O’Brian had a bright successful future. Then the letter came. What would happen if someone was drafted for war? On the Rainy River by Tim O’Brian is about his experience upon being drafted for the Vietnam war on June 17, 1968. Through the psychoanalytic lens, the story will be evaluated and proven that Tim O’Brian dealt with his feelings of being drafted using three defense mechanisms; denial, repression and suppression. Through college, he was politely against the war. He didn’t believe that his country was fighting for any freedom and viewed the fighting as pointless. The Vietnam war was hard for him to understand. He would go door to door and speak his views of the war in which most people disagreed but he saw no point in the killing and fighting and the killing again. Himself as a person could not kill a man looking straight down the barrel of his gun. While trying to make a decision about going to war he stated, “There were times when I thought I’d gone off the psychic edge” (O’Brian 77). Tim O’Brian went through a descent into madness after being drafted for war.

The first defense mechanism that Tim O’Brian used when dealing with the thought of going to war was denial. Denial was the first stage into his descent into madness. Tim O’Brian showed signs of denial when he decided to keep quiet and not tell anyone, not even his close family, about the draft notice he received. Upon receiving the letter O’Brian instantaneously fell into a state of isolation and kept distance from all his closest relatives. He spent his days working and sulking about himself. When asked about his plans or what was wrong with him he only said, “Nothing, wait,” (O’Brian 72). Next O’Brian decided to run away from home. When he ran away from home he also showed signs of his denial about the draft notice. He felt that running away would get rid of all his problems when really he was denying all responsibility he had to make a decision of going to the war. He only left a vague

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