As seen in the story, O’Brien is a character that is complex and hard to describe. This is because he can be viewed differently in the course of the whole novel. First, O’Brien is the author of the novel. Secondly, he is part of the platoon that goes to Vietnam for the war.
Moreover, O’Brien can also be seen as a young boy who has different thoughts and is confused as to what he should do. Part of the reason why he became a writer is to explain the various confusing feeling she went through growing up. The first thing that can be made of him is that he is an inquisitive person. For instance, he does much soul searching when it comes to the issue of death. As a soldier, he has learned to understand that death is part life. As a writer, he also has to explain to other people the several deaths that he comes face to face within the battlefield.
The young O’Brien can be seen as someone naive. He has just graduated and does not know what to expect when he goes to the war in Vietnam. Therefore, he feels like he should run away and go to Canada. The only thing that makes him change his mind is the fact that he does not want to embarrass his family. Moreover, he is also persuaded by the owner of the lodge where he went to make his decision. The fact that he fears the war also makes him a cowardly person who does not want to involve himself in situations that look dangerous to his life. His naivety can also be seen in the way he lights a torch to show Kiowa a picture when they are under attack. It is that incident that leads to Kiowa’s death. Though he feels guilty about it, it has already happened.
O’Brien is observant. To come up with this story, he had to carefully look at those things that happened to the people he associates with. For instance, he looks at all the things that Azar does while on the battlefield, such as the way Azar imitated the little girl’s dancing. At the same time, he watches the way Dobbins acts kind to people in the story and his simplicity.
He is also someone who is easily overcome by guilt. The first case is where he kills the Vietnamese soldier. The act makes him feel guilty. It takes the consolation from Kiowa for him to feel better. Moreover, he also has to convince himself that it is the machine that killed the soldier. Besides, he also feels bad when he lies to her daughter Kathleen that he did not kill anyone in the war. That guilt only leaves him when he finally says the truth and travels with her daughter to Vietnam, where the war took place. Additionally, he feels guilty for the death of Kiowa and feels that there is something he would have done.
O’Brien is also vengeful. There is a case where he wants to get revenge against the medic that almost left him for dead when he had been shot. It takes much convincing to make him feel better about the situation. However, he later feels they are even and forgets about the whole revenge mission.
Tim is a forgiving person. First, he begins by forgiving himself for the atrocity he feels he committed against the Vietnamese soldier. He forgives himself for lying to Kathleen, her daughter about killing someone in the war. Besides, he forgives Bobby, the medic that almost left him to die. However, this was after this medic offered an apology. It is never easy to forgive someone who leaves you in a situation that can lead to your death.
Selfless is also a character that can be used to describe O’Brien. The act of going for the war is not because he loves it. It because he feels it is his obligation as a citizen. Additionally, he does not want his family to be looked down upon. That means that he cares about other people other than himself. He did not just go for the war for his personal gains in either material form or otherwise. Because of his selflessness, he also accepts to write a nice story about Jimmy Cross so that, Martha, the lover of Jimmy, can read it and accept to be back together with him.
His retrospective nature also makes him think about many things. He brainstorms over the nature of death and why it happens. Additionally, he assesses how people tell the war stories and the way some stories may appear truthful when they are not. Generally, he is someone who likes to put everything into perspective.