In the Lake of the Woods


Tim O’Brien

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Lee Harvey Oswald Character Analysis

The supposed assassin of John F. Kennedy, and a veteran of the American military, Lee Harvey Oswald is at the center of a huge number of conspiracy theories concerning the Kennedy assassination. There are those who maintain that Oswald was a “fall guy,” meant to disguise the fact that a powerful organization—maybe the CIA, maybe the Freemasons, maybe the Teamsters—killed Kennedy. The narrator is interested in Oswald because of what he reveals about the psychology of conspiracy theorists.

Lee Harvey Oswald Quotes in In the Lake of the Woods

The In the Lake of the Woods quotes below are all either spoken by Lee Harvey Oswald or refer to Lee Harvey Oswald. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Books edition of In the Lake of the Woods published in 1995.
Chapter 25 Quotes

Why do we care about Lizzie Borden, or Judge Carter, or Lee Harvey Oswald, or the Little Big Horn? Because of all that cannot be known. And what if we did know? What if it were proved—absolutely and purely—that Lizzie Borden took an ax? That Oswald acted alone? That Judge Carter fell into Sicilian hands? Nothing more would beckon, nothing would tantalize.

Related Characters: Narrator (speaker), Lizzie Borden, Lee Harvey Oswald
Page Number: 266
Explanation and Analysis:
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Lee Harvey Oswald Character Timeline in In the Lake of the Woods

The timeline below shows where the character Lee Harvey Oswald appears in In the Lake of the Woods. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 25: Evidence
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
...comment, the narrator asks, rhetorically, why anybody should care about murderers like Lizzie Borden or Lee Harvey Oswald . Perhaps, he suggests, mysteries are themselves more fascinating than any solution could be. The... (full context)