English – 85
How Real is the Vietnam War?
In the book Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers, the story follows a bunch of young men who fight in the Vietnam War. Although there are many themes in the book, one stands out: the horror of war. The title of the book relates to this theme which tells us that the theme is valuable. The guys are thrown into the reality of war in a heartbeat when the war started. By the end of the book, the boys realize that the war is a bunch of chaos and frustration and not what they expected the war to be when they first started. In the book, there is a tremendous amount of the loss of innocence which has been flared by the brutality of the war. The title of this book, Fallen Angels, is a clear representation of realizing the reality of war. The angels are directed towards being the angels who are quiet and gentle. In chapter four, Myers calls the guys “angel warriors” which makes the link between the soldiers and angels. The guys have never encountered a war scenario so they are prone to being hurt in the war, there chances are higher than more experienced. . The word “fallen” in the title shows that the loss of innocence makes them angels.
Although everybody loses innocence, the guys in the war have to mature and adjust to their surroundings. The first step in realizing the reality of war and the first degree of horror is when they visualize the truth and what is taking place. The enemy always considers themselves as a target and a person that is hated
and not liked. In chapter nine, Richie says, “We were supposed to smile a lot and treat the people with dignity. They were supposed to think we were the good guys. That bothered me a little. I didn’t like having to convince anybody that I was the good guy. . . . We, the Americans, were the good guys.” At the time of the war, people were uncertain who were the good guys and who were the bad guys, there was little trust between both sides and even on their own sides there was a lack of trust which leads to confusion and a misunderstand on the war. Richie is uncertain and confused regarding the war. Richie does not like the fact that he has to tell and convince the Vietnamese that the soldiers are the people they can trust. Richie’s recognizes that the army can be dishonest and distrustful. There is no clear evidence about the pros and cons of war, which makes him question the war. Another example of horror and lack of clarity is when something unexpected takes place and when sudden horror and mystery appears. In chapter 11, richie says “We spent another day lying around. It seemed to be what the war was about. Hours of boredom, seconds of terror.” although war is scary, there are flashes where there is major and terrifying horror in the area that last for a short amount of time. The anxiety and memory of these past events are a distraction during war and reminding yourself that today could be your last day. During the soldiers free time, they are able to reflect which causes their fears to reappear in their mind, they don't let go of their fears. The soldiers live in the moment, not the past.
When a soldier in the vietnam war, you never know what is coming and what the outcome will be. The last example of horror and lack of clarity is when your life can turn ways in a snap and living up to your hopes and dream. In chapter two, Richie tells us, “My plans, maybe just my dreams really, had been to go to college, and to write. . . . All the other guys in the neighborhood thought I was going to