Life In Tim O Brien's On The Rainy River

930 Words4 Pages
Throughout “On the Rainy River”, Tim’s influences, Elroy and his hometown, ultimately drive him to make the same decision, even though they represent very different things. Tim’s home-life is filled with pressures and responsibilities that at first he cannot handle. When the draft notice comes, all these forces initially push him away, but later, help him to make the decision to return and face the draft. When Tim describes his existence in Worthington, Minnesota, it becomes obvious that he is not extremely fond of his life thus far. As a declotter at the Armour meat-packing plant, Tim’s days are tough. He writes, “It was not pleasant work. Goggles were a necessity, and a rubber apron, but even so it was like standing for eight hours a day under a lukewarm blood-shower”(139). Tim already lives a life amidst bloodshed everyday, and can…show more content…
Far from his hometown, in the pressure-less environment of the Tip Top Lodge, Tim O’Brien becomes this hero, and makes the decision to travel back home. Tim’s escape is seemingly the exact opposite as his life at home. Rather than everyday responsibilities and hardships, Tim is greeted with no pressure, no guilt, and few words. He is given the space he needs to make the decision ripping him apart. O’Brien says, “The man who opened the door that day is the hero of my life”(143). Elroy Berdahl, the owner of the Tip Top Lodge, is a sort of silent company. He does not ask questions despite Tim’s underlying suspicion that he knows exactly what is going on. Tim says “What I remember more than anything is the man’s willfull, almost ferocious silence. In all that time together, all those hours, he never asked the obvious questions:... My hunch, though, is that he already knew. At least the basics”(145). Elroy gives Tim a chance. He takes O’Brien far past the middle of the rainy river; a mere 20 yards from the Canadian
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