Linda O Brien Character Analysis Essay

Words: 369
Pages: 2

O’Brien’s chooses to end the novel with an anecdote about Linda in order to reveal how he copes with death during and after the Vietnam War. To O’Brien, Linda symbolizes the loss of innocence. Her friendship with O’Brien is the first time O’Brien experiences love and death, a major thing for a nine year old. When Linda dies, her innocence, as well as O’Brien’s, is lost. Her death carries more weight than any soldier’s death, due to the fact that Linda did nothing to provoke it, as there was nothing that she could have done to stop the cancer from occurring. Linda also represents parts of the past that can be be brought back, through O’Brien’s imagination and storytelling. O’Brien brings her back through storytelling, as he explains “in a story …show more content…
O’Brien is emphasizing that death is inevitable, but she is still alive due to his stories. His writing enables him to keep the dead alive, even when all seems lost. Linda is similar to Norman Bowker for O’Brien, as both of these people give O’Brien a reason to write. When Bowker was wishing for someone to listen to his story, he writes to O’Brien, asking him to write about it. This is meant to be Bowker’s coping mechanism for the Vietnam War, but it fails, leading to him committing suicide. O’Brien uses this anecdote to compare his coping strategy to the other soldiers’ strategies, who joke with their friends and shake hands with the corpses. O’Brien writes stories about the war as therapeutic process that helps him recover from his post-war stress. “The Lives of the Dead” shows O’Brien’s realization that fiction and fantasies can help him overcome the sadness of death. O’Brien ends the novel with this anecdote about Linda rather than one about his fellow soldiers to illustrate that the novel has a larger purpose than to show readers the experiences of the soldiers in Vietnam. Through his anecdote about Linda, it is apparent to the reader that O’Brien’s wishes to celebrate the dead by remembering and sharing their life through