What kind of job did Tim have during the summer of 1968 in "On the Rainy River" in The Things They Carried?

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The author of this story remembers that during the summer of 1968, when he had received his draft notice calling him to fight in the Vietnam War, he was working in an Armour meatpacking plant in his hometown of Worthington, Minnesota. His job was to remove blood clots from the necks of dead pigs. This was not a very salubrious occupation, and he remembers how he used to stink of dead pig, and this was an odour he could not remove, no matter how often he showered. This added to his sense of isolation and loneliness, as he reports he found it very difficult to get a date:

I felt isolated; I spent  a lot of time alone. And there was also that draft notice tucked away in my wallet.

Such details add to the sense that the author is thinking very carefully about what he is going to do and how he is going to proceed. He needs to make a decision about whether he is going to fight in this war that he feels so uncertain about and in many ways opposes, or whether he is going to take the step of going to Canada and therefore avoiding the draft. Either way, his job gives him plenty of opportunities to think very carefully about his options.

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The Things They Carried

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