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The Things They Carried:Novel Summary: “The Lives of the Dead”

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Summary of “The Lives of the Dead”

 

O'Brien remembers all the dead in the war, and connects it to his first experience of death. Linda, his first love, a nine-year-old girl who died of a brain tumor, was a trauma he never got over, for it was true love. The story focuses mostly on Linda's death and O'Brien's attempts to deal with it as a child. He tells how there was a miracle, that he met Linda in a dream after she was dead, and Linda told him to stop crying. He says that stories can also make the dead talk. They are a way to deal with death.

 

Commentary on “The Lives of the Dead”

 

This concluding story shows that O'Brien has had a hard time dealing with death. After Linda died, he would meet her in dreams and have long conversations. He understands that he is not only trying to save the life of the men he served with in his stories, he is trying to save his own life.




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