Why does Tim O'Brien leave Cacciato's fate unanswered in the end of "Going After Cacciato"?

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ladyvols1 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the novel "Going After Cacciato” Tim O’Brian leaves the reader room to form their own opinions as to the fate of Cacciato. The whole idea of Cacciato walking to Paris for the peace talks and the men trying to follow him and bring him back is a cross between reality and imagination.  The M &M’s, the trail, the story and the resolution are dream like.  When you dream, when you imagine, there is not always a resolution, but as O’Brian writes, “The facts were simple: They went after Cacciato, they chased him into the mountains, and they tried hard. They cornered him on a small grassy hill. They surrounded the hill. They waited through the night. And at dawn they shot the sky full of flares and then they moved in.... That was the end of it. The last known fact. What remained were possibilities."

The possibilities of the end of the war, did he make it to Paris, or didn't he?  All of the answers the reader can imagine are possibilities.