Chapter 21: “Night Life”
How did Rat Kiley get out of active duty in the Vietnam?
Consider the placement of this story in the novel. What is O’Brien’s purpose in including this story so late in the novel and immediately following “The Ghost Soldiers”?
Chapter 22: “The Lives of the Dead”
How does the opening paragraph frame the story we are about to read?
Why is O'Brien unable to joke around with the other soldiers? Why does the old man remind him of Linda?
What is the function of the Linda plot in “The Lives of the Dead”? Consider in particular what it teaches him about death, memory, storytelling.
What is the “moral” of the dead KIAs? Consider Mitchell Sanders' view.
In many ways, this book is as much about stories, or the necessity of stories, as it is about the Vietnam War. According to O’Brien, what do stories accomplish? Why does he continue to tell stories about the Vietnam War, about Linda?