(855) 4-ESSAYS

Type a new keyword(s) and press Enter to search

The Ending of The Things They Carried

            The ending of "The Things They Carried" finishes off the duration of the novel, with stories that concentrate on death along with the role of stories and memories in managing the burden of death on a person's conscience. The entirety of the novel focuses on the importance of stories in being cathartic to those with traumatic memories, and how these stories are constructed and delivered to others – if delivered to others at all. The novel blurs the lines between real stories and stories that the author created in order to cope with his past in Vietnam. O'Brien affectively confuses average readers with his ambiguity between "story truth" and "happening truth" and casts doubt on the veracity of the entire book to show a normal audience how war veterans are forced to cope with their experiences. The ending of the novel seems to accentuate this confusion as more stories dealing with the heavy topic of death are introduced and the importance of O'Brien's writing of his experiences is more defined. .
             Particularly at the end of the book, O'Brien explains that in Vietnam, the soldiers created ways to make the people they were close to that died seem less dead – they kept those people alive in their head with stories, like those O'Brien wrote of his friends Ted Lavender, Curt Lemon, Kiowa, and Linda. After Linda's death, O'Brien describes himself in fifth grade imagining Linda as still with him and using his imagination to simultaneously bring her back to life, and to cope with his loss. "And yet even as a nine-year-old I had begun to practice the magic of stories" (O'Brien 244). O'Brien comes to the conclusion that in stories, the dead live again. This is comforting to O'Brien and in a way helps lighten a metaphorical weight on his conscience. I think that this is an interesting point because the first chapter of the novel was entirely dedicated to the physical burdens and metaphorical weights that soldiers carried as they trekked through Vietnam, and now the end of the story relates back to that in explaining the reason why O'Brien needs to write stories the way that he does.

Essays Related to The Ending of The Things They Carried

Got a writing question? Ask our professional writer!
Submit My Question