This excerpt indigenous Tim O"Brien"s autobiographical fiction about the war in Vietnam is a reverie of memory, dream, and also story that resurrects the dead. The dead are other soldiers, the opponent dead, and a very first love who died in childhood.

You are watching: The lives of the dead

Tim, the narrator and also writer, to be only 4 days into his tour of duty as soon as his platoon command ordered an waiting strike against a village that is the source of sniper fire. Once the platoon walked with the ruined village, they found one old, dead, mutilated villager. Tim"s other soldiers had occurred a ritual of "greeting the dead" in which castle pretended the dead person was quiet alive, to be someone to it is in greeted, spoken to, both in mockery and in respect. They used this routine to the opponent dead as well as to their own dead.

Both repelled and also fascinated through the ritual, Tim psychic his own an approach for animating the dead-in childhood-friend, Linda, whom he mourned and continues to mourn. After she passed away of brain cancer, he intentionally her alive and held conversations v her, just as his compatriots held conversations v their dead colleagues. Now, years later, he is informing the story of this experiences, this dead, these rituals, "keeping the dead alive," and "trying to conserve Timmy"s life with a story."

In this poetic and self-reflexive piece O"Brien provides the rationale because that storytelling and also illustrates its strength not only for the teller, yet for the neighborhood of listener (readers) who give life come the story, the author, and its characters. But, together the dead Linda speak him, the personalities in a publication that no one is reading carry out not exist. To animate and make meaningful that which is lost requires both teller and listener(s).

In remembering and re-telling, the narrator do the efforts to adjust his own role in the story--attempts come expiate the guilt that his inaction as soon as others mocked the war dead, and also of no coming come Linda"s defense when she needed protection. While the knows that he cannot change what happened, it is by telling the story, by acknowledging and making current those events, that he hopes to come to terms v them.

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It is useful to read and discuss the quick piece, Good form (annotated in this database), prior to mentioning this longer excerpt. In addition to illustrating the importance of rigid in meaning-making, "The points They Carried" additionally demonstrates the duty of graveyard feeling for those who job-related with the sick and dying.