The Things They Carried

What does Nick Veenhof do to Linda? Why is this incident shocking?

In the story "The Things They Carried" by Tim O'Brien, Chapter 22 (The Lives of the Dead)

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Nick Veenhof pulled off the red cap that LInda always had on. Pulling off the cap revealed Linda’s slowly balding head.She had a brain tumour and died soon after. You can see why this was shocking and sad.