Changing World Project

Analytical Essay:

Running and hiding are figurative and literal things people do when they see their worlds changing. People don’t like to experience new things that they aren’t comfortable with, or not knowing what is going to happen. A lot of times change can be good, but the fear of not knowing where that change will lead you makes change scary. Sometimes change can be life altering. “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’brien is a great example of people experiencing change and how it has affected them. Change is inevitable and in many cases can be scary. The fear of the unknown makes people not want to experience the change.

The main Character of the book, Tim O’brien, lived in Minnesota where he spent his summer working in a meatpacking plant. He would work there all day then drive around during the night time. One day he came home to a draft notice in the mail. He states, “The draft notice arrived on June 17th, 1968...I remember opening up the letter, scanning the first few lines, feeling the blood go thick behind my eyes. I remember a sound in my head. “(42) He talks about what it was like when he found out that this new thing was going to be happening in his life. It was so scary for him, and he didn’t know how to deal with it. It was a huge change, he would be going to a war that he didn’t believe in, and that he could possibly die from. He faced the decision of either fleeing the country, or staying there until he had to leave for the Vietnam War. Now it is a choice of people if they want to go into a war like this, unless there aren’t enough volunteers, but during the Vietnam War there was a draft, and he didn’t have a choice on whether he wanted to go or not.  Readers can understand how scary this would be to receive a letter like this. In war, it is a daily fight for ones life.

Tim feels like nobody understands what this war is about, and would sometimes start big arguments with people over the anger he had inside him. They were sending him off to war yet they didn’t really understand the war themselves. He says “I was bitter, sure. But it was so much more than that. The emotions went from outrage to terror to bewilderment to guilt to sorrow and then back again to outrage. I felt sickness inside me. Real disease.” (45/46) He didn’t like that he was going somewhere that nobody knew anything about. They didn’t understand him and what he was going through. He was mad. He was going through all of these feelings because of this change that he was so scared of. He didn’t know what would happen to him, just like nobody really knows, so it was making him nervous. People who have not experienced war, don’t understand it. He didn’t understand what he was getting in to. The fear was making him start these arguments with people because he felt like he was going through this alone.

After receiving the draft letter, O’brien had a hard decision to make: Flee to Canada, or stay and go to War. O’brien decides to go, but later decides to come back. On his way there, he states,  “I headed up the rainy river, which separates Minnesota from Canada, and which for me separated one life from another.” (47) Tim going to Canada is deciding whether he goes to war or not. If he flees, they won’t be able to find him and take him away. He knows this and he knows that he doesn’t want to change his life. The author of the book, Tim O’brien, is trying to tell the readers that he was scared. He feared what was going to be so new to him. This decision is life altering, and he doesn’t know what to expect either way he goes. He states that this separates one life from another, which is very true. On one side, he will be fighting for his life, and seeing so much death, but on the other hand he is leaving and having to start a new life over. Both are big changes, but one is much bigger than the other.

Tim has been in many interviews since the writing of his book. He talks about what it was like when he first received the letter.  ''I went to my room in the basement and started pounding the typewriter,'' he recalled. ''I did it all summer. It was the most terrible summer of my life, worse than being in the war. My conscience kept telling me not to go, but my whole upbringing told me I had to. That horrible summer made me a writer. I don't know what I wrote. I've still got it, reams of it, but I'm not willing to look at it. It was just stuff - bitter, bitter stuff, and it's probably full of self-pity. But that was the beginning.'' ("A storyteller for the war that won't end"). Tim talks about when he first got the draft notice. He didn’t know what to do and it was all he could think about. He talks about how he was having an internal conflict between his conscience and everything he believes in from growing up. He was scared yet felt he had to do it. He was scared for his entire life to change. He talks about it as it is a good thing, that having this struggle made him a much writer and he was more able to express his feelings. Even though, that is not the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about going to war and writing about it, there were some good things that came out of it. Writing helped O’brien cope with this change a little more, and changed his perspective on the war.

Change is inevitable and in many cases can appear scary. The fear of the unknown makes people not want to experience the change. When there is a change people are going into something that they might not be very comfortable with, something, that in very many situations it is out of their comfort zone. It takes time to adjust to something new in a persons life.

Works Cited for Analytical Essay:

  1. O'brien, Tim. "A Storyteller for the War That Won't End." Interview by D.J.R Bruckner. The New York Times. N.p., 3 Apr. 1990. Web. 10 Jan. 2015. <>.

  2. O'Brien, Tim. The Things They Carried: A Work of Fiction. New York: Broadway, 1998. Print.

Narrative Essay:

You will be going to a new school this year.”

“But why?”

It is more affordable and a lot easier.”

I remember it was going into my fifth grade year. I felt like my world was crumbling down. At this point in my life, I had been experiencing so much change in different areas that I just couldn’t deal with anymore. My parents were separating, I was moving to a new house, and now this. I didn’t know what to expect walking into a new school. It was all I could think about all summer. Right before the school year started I knew I wasn’t ready for this change. It was like starting all over again. I didn’t want to have to make new friends and go in to a new environment that I wasn’t used to. I honestly thought I was going to be the only new one at school and I would be the odd one out.

The school that I came from was a very small school with not much diversity. It was a great school, but it was nothing different since I had gone there since pre-k. It was a very colorful and interesting school. It was so much different than the school that I transferred to. My new school, was a lot more structured. The classrooms were all made of this bland, brown color. It was almost like they picked the most boring color they could find. The school was a lot more diverse in the types of students they had, which was a very good part of the move. None of the teachers really had a life to them, they were all so stern, and there we so many rules. I now understand why everything was this way, but coming in as a fifth grader, I just saw something that I didn’t like.

I remember being so nervous when I walked in. I have a very shy personality, and I knew that I wasn’t going to talk to anybody, being the new girl. When I got there I realized that there were actually a lot of new students, and one of them I became very good friends with. Some of the kids at my new school were very friendly and made me feel so comfortable while others just stared at me and made me feel uncomfortable. I feared what was going to happen at a new school. It could have gone many ways. I am glad that there were people there to make my change nice and comfortable, but I do realize that there are also people there that are going to try and make things hard for you no matter what you are doing in life.

As the year went on, I noticed that my environment was not the only change I would be experiencing. I had to make new friends, but I didn’t realize that I would slowly be losing the old. I don’t quite know when it all happened, but I think it was right after I stopped playing soccer. I played with mostly girls from my old school. Once I stopped, my relationship with them ended as well. It happened pretty quickly. I never got to see them because my life became so busy, and I was never seeing them during the week like I always used to. I remember I woke up one saturday and realized that I only really talked to the people at my new school. I had experienced a change that I was so scared of. I never really got too upset about it, I just knew that me talking to them was seperating my old life from my new life. I think that at first I was very scared for this adjustment in my life, but it soon just became so normal that it didn’t matter much anymore. I almost knew this was going to happen when I went to a new school, but it was hard to make it a reality.

As I got older, things that were so strange to me became normal, but things were still changing. A large change that I have been facing is my siblings going off to college. My brother was the first to go, and then followed my sister.  It made me really upset knowing that I wasn’t going to be with them all the time. I was scared to be alone. I was scared that once they left everything would change. I would basically be alone in the house and I would only really be able to talk to them through the phone. Before they were leaving, I never really thought about it, and when I did I was kind of excited to have the house alone. Both times though, as they left, it dawned on me that I would not get to be with them as much, and it made me upset. I didn’t notice the change until the last minute, and until it was probably too late for me to realize. I wasn’t going to be able to talk to them about how annoying our parents were being, or laugh with them when we are making fun of our parents. We just had so much fun together. I think of this as not one of my most traumatic changes, not saying it wasn’t life changing, but is something that I would have overcome eventually and is something that I needed to face.

I still tend to get very nervous around change but I have learned to cope with my nerves. I have started to become numb to it. I have been through so much change already that it is starting to not affect me unless the change is very drastic. There are so many things that I wish never changed, but if they hadn’t I don’t know where my life would be now. It could be better but it also could have been a lot worse. I think that is why so many people fear change. They don’t know what will happen either way.