Last Updated 12 Oct 2020

George Orwell’s “On the Rainy River”

Category George Orwell
Essay type Research
Words 846 (3 pages)
Views 423

In the story “On the Rainy River” a 20-year old named Tim O’Brien is about to be given the freedom to go anywhere in life until he receives a draft notice requiring him to join the army in the Vietnam War. Tim O’Brien is tested both physically and mentally. He has the option to flee to Canada or go to the war. Each option would result in abandoning family, friends, and fond memories. In his essay “Shooting an Elephant,” reminisces about a bad decision he made earlier in life, just like Tim. Reflecting on his experience, Orwell has also identified the reasons why he did it: “I could get nothing into perspective.

I was young and ill-educated and I had to think out my problems in utter silence,” Tim O’Brien also dealt with his problems alone, “ I felt isolated; I spent a lot of time alone. ” Both Tim and George are struggling to deal with their problems and it’s eating away at them. In “On the Rainy River,” having a good education doesn’t have much on an impact on Tim’s life, because if your nation calls on you to defend your country, you’re going to have to make a difficult decision on whether you’re going to flee or going to war.

Being educated makes Tim more open-minded, and prevents him from indulging in the nationalism that was sweeping the nation during that time. Although Tim may have good reasons we shouldn’t be in the war, the nation was depending on men like him. In “Shooting an Elephant,” George Orwell says “ …I could get nothing into perspective. I was young and ill-educated and I had to think out my problems in the utter silence that is imposed on every Englishman in the East.

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” George Orwell is trying to say that when you’re young and inexperienced you’re bound to make a lot of mistakes. When you’re young your family, peers, and own country have influenced your opinions. Many individuals are afraid and unwilling to deviate from the norm. George is an anti-imperialist at heart, but puts on an officer uniform and represents imperialism because that is how the European nation is viewed to the rest of the world.

Based off of Orwell’s ideas, you should think individually so you won’t regretnthings later on in life as George and Tim do. Your conscious would show you wrong from right. George Orwell’s ideas can also be applied to “On the Rainy River”. Although Tim is educated on the war in Vietnam, he does have to deal with his problems in utter silence because he’s afraid that the people he can talk to will tell him to go to the war and he doesn’t want to be called a coward, which takes a toll on his body. “How at work one morning…I felt something break open in my chest…it was a physique rupture.”

So not only is Tim losing sleep and becoming paranoid, but now the stress is affecting Tim’s physical health as well. If Tim had talked to Elroy Berdahl he would have been much better off. The guilt and stress has been eating away at Tim all summer, and will continue to get at him until he can speak to someone about what he’s going through. If Tim had vented to Elroy, his physical and mental health might have returned to normal, which would have helped him to make his decision. George faces being ill educated along with dealing with his problems.

George is an outcast in the native village. He is supposed to be striking fear into these people, however he is against the brutality and injustice that imperialism instills on its subjects. If only George had had the courage to tell the natives who he really was, he might have had an easier time being accepted by them. If George had been better educated, he might have known how to think straight when surrounded by two thousand people; he might have also known where to shoot the elephant so it wouldn’t have to suffer the way it did.

To conclude, both Tim and George tried to run away from the inevitable. You can’t escape who you are, and that is what Tim and George tried to do. Tim was an American citizen who was caught up in the draft for the Vietnam War, and George was a citizen of an imperial nation. Tim couldn’t face leaving his friends and family behind so he ended up damaging himself both physically and mentally without even trying to talk this out with his family and friends.

While George an anti-imperialist at hear must enforce it upon this Asian country. Both decisions were forced by others whether it is Tim deciding to go to the war due to the devastating fact that if he were to go to Canada, he would never see his family again and if George didn’t shoot that elephant, the tribal people would be more disrespectful than ever. George Orwell wants us to be individuals and think for ourselves. We shouldn’t be influenced by others to make decisions we wouldn’t normally do.

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George Orwell’s “On the Rainy River”. (2016, Aug 07). Retrieved from

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