Tim O Brien's Views On Courage: The Definition Of Courage

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Courage Courage is the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty without fear. Many people might accept or reject this definition because they have different standards that define courage. In terms of courage Tim O’Brien, Yevgeny Yevtushenko, and Aleph Altman-Mills all have different views on courage. O’Brien sees courage as something that requires practice. Yevtushenko believes courage is going above and beyond, leaving a large impact. Altman-Mills perspective on courage is quite different she believes there are three branches that qualify as courage. Courage is a combination off all their meanings. Courage is about being brave and heroic, acting without thinking about the consequences, and acting when you think you…show more content…
O’Brien is a young man who is struggling to decide if he should fight in the Vietnam war, which he believes is morally incorrect, or run away and cross the Canadian border. At the start of his story he described courage by saying: “Courage, i seemed to think, comes in in finite quantities, like an inheritance, and by being frugal and slashing it away and letting it earn interest, we steadily increase our moral capital.” (O’Brien, 1075) This statement made in O’Brien’s story is a false interpretation of courage because courage does not come in an infinite amount. Courage is when one does not hesitate or consider the consequences to oneself or to others when acting and it can happen at anytime. Near the end of his story O'Brien's view of courage changes, he begins to see courage as something that cannot be lost. He now believes courage is following your morals even when everyone else is discouraging you to stop. However, O’Brien does not fall under the definition of courage. Courage is about following your morals and O’Brien fails to do this. At the end of his journey he ends up returning and joining the war, fighting for something he does not stand for. His interpretation of courage is a large part of the definition of courage, since it is acting as you believe is morally…show more content…
It should be defined as going above the limits or being brave enough to go below average. Aleph Altman-Mills writes about courage in her poem “Symptoms of Courage May Include.” Altman-Mill’s poem explains courage in a way that many people do not see it as. Altman-Mills defines courage in three ways. She first says courage is like: “not collapsing like a missed connection” (Altman-Mills, line 2) meaning when you have given it your all and there is nothing left to give you still continue to stand. Then she defines courage as: “Crying about what a failure you are.” (Altman-Mills, line 3) Sometimes when one has failed it is okay to admit that you have failed and let it out. Lastly she describes courage as: “Crying about being a failure” (Altman-Mills, line 4) meaning when one knows that one has messed up and accepting that and maybe even giving up. The three definitions that Altman-Mill discusses should be accepted to an extent. Her definitions are branches of courage that contribute to the aspect of being brave, because she describes the three definitions as being able to thrive while being put down and knowing how to accept being below average. Altman-Mill’s passage contributes to the meaning of courage again when she mentions a circus act and courage. She says that courage is not like a circus: “courage is not about risking death …. Sometimes courage is swallowing the ocean that tries to drown you.” (Altman-Mill, line 12-15)

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