Sample Term Paper

The purpose for writing the book in the form of the stories was to save his skin because a story can convey themes which can not be conveyed through any other means. The book is not only a novel but also a collection of various stories and essays which are more like that of confessions of the soldiers. In the title story the narrator describes the soldiers as those who ‘carried the soldier’s greatest fears, which was the fear of blushing. Men killed, and died, because they were embarrased not to’.

The novel is about emotions and feelings of the soldiers as in one part of the novel ‘On the Rainy River’ the narrator shows the feelings of a draftee who is ambiguous to go on war but decides, ‘I would go to war-I would kill and maybe die-because I was embarrased not to’. ‘My conscience told me to run, but some irrational and powerful force was resisting, like a weight putting me towards the war. What it came down to, stupidly, was a sense of shame’(O’Brien, 52). It is embarrasment that leads the narrator to the war. He went to the war to escape to be seen by All those eyes on me and to be named as a coward. He is caught between cowardice and courage. He could not think of enduring the mockery, disgrace and patriotic ridicule, ‘I was a coward….

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