The Things They Carried.
I"m skimming across the surface of my own history, doing loops and spins, and when I take a high leap into the dark and come down thirty years later, I realize it is as Tim is trying to save Timmy's life with a story."(pg.246). In the final chapter "The Lives of the Dead," O"Brien uses his memories of Linda as a means of finding closure to the novel. I believe the reason for his decision on ending the book with that particular chapter is because stories can save and change an individual and this particular story has had the most influence on Tim's life. Linda and the stories, dreams, and imaginations have brought together the stories of the soldiers keeping many things alive and show that life a precious. .
"The Lives of the Dead" brings Linda's death and the soldiers all together into one big pot. It is because of Linda's death the stories are told. Linda was dead and Tim had to understand. After her death is when he started to practice the magic of stories. Some dreamed up and some written down. Because of these stories he would be able to go to sleep knowing she"d be there waiting for him and he would be happy. At times, Tim willed her back to life. It might have been a dream or a daydream but he made it happen. She's not the embodied Linda but mostly made having a new identity and a new name, like the man who never was. To Tim her name didn't matter. In Vietnam, too, they had ways of making the dead seem not quite so dead. Shaking hands was one way. By slighting death, by acting, they pretended it was not the terrible thing it was. When someone got killed, his body was not really a body, but rather one small bit of waste in a pile of dead bodies. .
It's true stories can save people. Stories are a way of getting one's emotions out and sharing them with other hoping they will understand what you are going through. It is always to have someone go through what you are experiencing then to be alone.