The final scene of the novel involves author Tim O'Brien reminiscing on a past love experience with a girl who passed away at a young age. This final portion of the novel serves to show how Tim O'Brien believes in the importance of storytelling and its unique ability to give life to the dead even though they are no longer around to tell their own story.
The climax of the novel would be when Rat Kiley decides to shoot himself in the foot to be taken away from the Vietnam War. The psychological effects of the war are shown in many chapters of the novel, and this scene fully encompassed how war can cause such fear and anxiety that it would push a soldier like Kiley to commit such a shocking action.
In his opening scene, author Tim O'Brien introduces the reader to his comrades in war, and also shows how soldiers "carry" more than just material things such as guns and ammunition. The novel focuses on the psychological toll that war can take on a soldier, and that emotional aspect is introduced in the opening scene.
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