Kathleen is the young daughter of the main character, Tim O’Brien. The author Tim O’Brien does not have a daughter, though he does have two sons. Kathleen is like a stand-in for the reader, someone O’Brien is trying to share his story with. And as someone who has no experience with Vietnam, like many of O’Brien’s readers, Kathleen asks questions the reader may be wondering about, such as whether O’Brien killed anyone in Vietnam and what the whole war was about. She also serves as a commentator on O’Brien’s storytelling and his ruminating on his experiences in Vietnam.