This short article is an excerpt from the soimg.org summary of "The Things They Carried" by Tim O"Brien. soimg.org has the world"s finest recaps of books you should be reading.
You are watching: The lives of the dead summary
Like this article? Sign up for a free trial right here.
What happens in the chapter in The Things They Carried referred to as “The Lives of the Dead”? How does “The Lives of the Dead” show the origins of author/narrator O’Brien’s writing style and also his idea in the power of storytelling?
We’ll look at the basic aspects of this chapter in The Things They Carried, “The Lives of the Dead,” and also look at exactly how a childhood love led to the narrator’s desire to compose stories.
The Things They Carried: “The Lives of the Dead”
This chapter in The Things They Carried, “The Lives of the Dead,” is the last chapter of the book. Its main narrative is the last story O’Brien shares via us is one that predays his Vietnam suffer. But he sees it as of a piece with what happened to him later in life, because choose the stories of Ted Lavender, Curt Lemon, Kiowa, and also the young Vietnamese soldier, it is a tale of loss. It is the story of his childhood girlfrifinish Linda, who passed away of a mind tumor as soon as they were both nine years old.
In this chapter in The Things They Carried, “The Lives of the Dead,” O’Brien defines his love for Linda as being as deep and affluent as any love he later on knowledgeable as an adult. He even took her out on a “double date” in 1956 via his paleas. He remembers that evening, bereason she wore a bbest red cap, which he’d never before checked out her wear before.
In the weeks after, he noticed that Linda was wearing the cap to institution eincredibly day. She was bullied over it by some of her classmates, who believed it was funny to try and snatch it off her head while she wasn’t looking. O’Brien was dismayed to see this happening, but felt himself unable to act on his convictions bereason of his pride and also his wish to maintain his reputation (simply as he would certainly years later as soon as he ultimately chose to fight in Vietnam). He didn’t desire to be seen as much less tough or masculine because he was defending a girl. Looking ago, O’Brien laments not having stepped in to carry out the right point, and also rejects his youth as an excuse. He notes in this chapter in The Things They Carried, “The Lives of the Dead,” that displaying moral courage in the fourth grade would have actually made him much better prepared to face the much harder ethical choices in Vietnam.
One day, a bully controlled to knock Linda’s cap off in the time of class, revealing her bald scalp beneath. Linda was sick via a brain tumor and also had lost all her hair—she had been wearing the cap to cover it up. Later, O’Brien’s mom explained to him that Linda was terminally ill and also would certainly shortly pass ameans from the tumor. Linda made it through the school year and summer, yet died during the September as soon as O’Brien was entering the fifth grade. Foreshadowing the callous and also cold method fatality would certainly be treated on the areas of Vietnam, the exact same bully that humiliated Linda in course told O’Brien of her fatality by coming up to him in the time of recess and also informing him that Linda had actually “kicked the bucket.”
According to the narrator in this chapter in The Things They Carried, “The Lives of the Dead,” his suffer via Linda was O’Brien’s initially glimpse right into the power of storytelling. After her death, he started to invent fancy stories in which Linda was still alive. His desires and also his stories ended up being his trick meeting location with his shed friend. He could carry Linda to life aobtain by telling her story. He can make her actual, make her smile and also speak. In one of his desires, the dead Linda likened herself to an old book on a library shelf that hadn’t been seen for a lengthy time. All she can perform was wait for someone to check her out—for someone to tell her story and also lug her to life aget.
See more: Which Of The Following Was Considered Unpatriotic During The World War Ii?
Even amid the brutality of the battle, the guys were always telling stories about the dead to make them seem more vivid and also current. This was just how the line in between story-reality and happening-truth came to be blurred. The even more vivid the stories were, the more alive and also of this world the dead seemed to be. If they might tell stories around Curt Lemon trick-or-treating with a rural Vietnamese village or Ted Lavender being sedated on tranquilizers, it was virtually as if they weren’t gone. Like via Linda, storytelling brought the body and spirit together. This is the moral of this chapter in The Things They Carried, “The Lives of the Dead.”