Chapter 3“Beyond the Body Count”:
Attitudes and arguments about the war
• Soldiers feel as if they won’t make it out alive “at time I feel I will never come home” after seeing all their fallen comrades.
• Soldiers are doing something they believe in, helping the Vietnamese people “I hope that’s one reason we’re here, to secure a future for them”
• Mixed feelings “Vietnam has my feelings on a seesaw”; beautiful country but still in war “for a fleeting moment I wasn’t in a warzone, just on vacation”
• Numbing emotions “I rarely acknowledge the emotions attached anymore”
• Being in the war turns you into a man “Being here makes a man feel proud of himself”
• They see the war as a ...view middle of the document...
The people working at the back are put under similar pressure to those fighting on the front lines, for example paper work needs to be done at certain times. Therefore, although their lives aren’t in danger as much as those infantry teams who are out in the front, they still have similar pressures to perform.
Although they work at opposite ends of the fields, they both rely on each other to ensure that they both have every chance at survival. For example, the Doctor may need to heal the front-line soldier, but the doctor needs the front-line soldier to protecting him from getting killed.
Is there are shift between perspectives in these letters and the earlier ones? What might be the reasons for this change?
Yes. There is a shift in perspectives as we are now generally reading from soldiers who are in the rear of the war. They know exactly what’s happening. They know what propaganda is been sold out to the soldiers and they know exactly why they shouldn’t be in Vietnam. It’s a war they cannot win! The soldiers at the rear are the ones ‘forging’ documents to ‘lie’ to the American people about what really is going on in Vietnam. Therefore, the reasons are clear, that the soldiers in the front-line just execute orders from their superiors, as oppose to the soldiers at the rear to write these orders and understand the intention of each.
Chapter 5 “World of Hurt”:
The soldiers hide their emotional and physical pain through a number of ways. One of them is humour and soldiers joke about the injuries they receive “I’m going to have some pretty nice looking scars”. Again joking about their injuries, they claim what “hard work” it is to lay around and heal. They remain optimistic and reassure their families back home that despite being injured, they are “perfectly alright”.
The inclusion of the nurse’s letters contribute another perspective of the war. The nurses look after the wounded and enjoy their jobs “I LOVE IT!” They revel in the bravery of the men who have been injured and still manage to smile despite the great pain they must be in (“it is men like that that make it all worthwhile”). The nurses get close and personal with the soldiers and in this sense provide (at times) a more positive outlook on the war due to their nurturing roles. But seeing all the injuries and deaths “disgusts” them, and they feel as if the war is a “mistake”. As one nurse puts it, “I’m sick of facing, every day, a new bunch of children ripped to pieces”. Although they enjoy helping people, they are beginning to feel as if the war is a waste of young life. These letters shift the tone to an angry and frustrated one.
Chapter 6“What am I Doing Here?”
The attitudes of those fighting the war change because the soldiers begin to defend their actions. They are starting to think about the threat of communism spreading through South-East Asia, the threat of South-East Asia not been democratic. They have a strong sense of belief that democracy should be instated in South...