The Lives of the Dead by Tim O’Brien Review

  • Category: Literature,
  • Words: 865 Pages: 4
  • Published: 29 March 2021
  • Copied: 143

In the short story “The Lives of the Dead” by Tim O’Brien, the meaning is that storytelling is a way to cope with the dead and/or how you can keep the spirit of the dead alive through storytelling. Throughout the story, Tim talks about Linda and how she’s the first dead body that he’s seen at 9 years old. He keeps her spirit alive through his stories about her. The stories he tells make me feel that she’s still alive but she isn’t. This was his way of coping with her death. On page 232 Tim says “I'm forty-three years old, and a writer now, still dreaming Linda alive in exactly the same way.” Since he’s been telling stories about her many times throughout his life, shows that he knows how to keep Linda’s spirit alive through stories and also cope with her death.

A symbol in this story is Linda’s death. Linda is Tim’s childhood love and she passes away from cancer. This symbol helped me understand why Tim is telling stories about her. It makes sense that storytelling for him is his way to cope with death since he experienced Linda’s death at a young age. “And as a writer now, I want to save Linda's life. Not her body—her life.  She died, of course. Nine years old and she died. It was a brain tumor. She lived through the summer and into the first part of September, and then she was dead.  But in a story, I can steal her soul. I can revive, at least briefly,  that which is absolute and unchanging.” on pages 223-224 shows that he’s trying to deal with her death in a story. He was devastated as a 9-year-old but since he's now older he understands why she passed. He feels that the best thing to do is to tell stories to cope. Her death is a big symbol in this story.

Euphonious Diction is used in this story very well. Tim uses very enjoyable words to express his thoughts & feelings about Linda when they were 9 years old and even now as an adult since she passed. His words were very thoughtful and a beautiful way to describe Linda for who she was to him. On page 216 Tim says “She had poise and great dignity. Her eyes, I remember, were deep brown like her hair, and she was slender and very quiet and fragile-looking.” His way of describing her is a great way to keep her spirit alive and to cope with her death. The words Tim used to describe Linda are nice and easy to understand how he feels about her. You can simply smile when you hear how he describes her and it's just amazing. I enjoyed reading the stories about her, they made me feel like I was her close friend.

In the story “Speaking of Courage” Lieutenant Cross is told that where he set up camp is a bad place, he didn't listen. Kiowa was sinking into the muck. Norman was holding onto Kiowa to save him. Norman had to let go because if he didn’t, he was going to sink in the muck as well. Kiowa dies in the muck. Tim tells stories after Kiowa died and how Norman feels that he would betray his friend. Tim tells a story of Norman's thoughts on how to say what happened to Kiowa. In Tim’s story, Norman finds the courage to tell the story but turns out he's talking to himself. Norman tries to deal with Kiowa’s death but he has a hard time. The way Norman tells the story to himself shows that he is trying to deal with Kiowa's death by telling the story and showing that just because he’s dead doesn't mean he isn’t thinking of him.

A way of remembering Martin Luther King is simply through stories. To keep his spirit alive, people tell stories about what he has done in the past for the black community and what he believed was right. Also how he had a big impact on many lives. The stories people tell about him are nothing but good about him. The stories make you feel like you’ve experienced the time when he was alive and speaking about his beliefs about the black community. For example, in his speech about “I Have A Dream”, the stories that are told about that specific speech, are very well told and make you feel that you were a part of the crowd when he gave that speech. Every single story I've heard about him makes me feel as if I was there when he was still alive and giving many speeches about what he believed in for the black community.

I feel like the message was a little difficult to find in this story but after reading the story I was able to figure out the message. I feel like Tim O’Brien should have made the message a little bit easier to understand and find. I feel like the story could have been more of a happy mood because I felt like the story was a little more on the down and lonely side. If the story was more of a happy mood, I feel like I would have been more intrigued into wanting to read it rather than having to read it.  I enjoyed the story but I feel like it was a little too long for my liking. Maybe the story could have been broken down into parts instead of one long story.

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