If I Die in a Combat Zone, Box Me Up and Ship Me Home Themes

Tim O'Brien
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The main theme of this memoir by Tim O'Brien is a constant moral and ethical struggle with his participation in a war he feels is unjust. Before he went to Vietnam, O'Brien notes that he wrote editorials against a war he did know he would have to fight. His opposition to the Vietnam War is visceral. It leads him to contemplate dodging the draft by going to Canada. Once in basic training, he formulates a thoroughly researched plan and a budget to desert the US Army by flying from Canada to Norway. Though O'Brien is unable to either dodge the draft or desert, he does try to get guidance from his Army Chaplain and battalion commander. He receives none. O'Brien realizes that the institution of the military does not provide moral counsel for its foot soldiers. The military O'Brien comes to know merely...

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This section contains 1,001 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the If I Die in a Combat Zone, Box Me Up and Ship Me Home Study Guide
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