Literary Review Of "Fallen Angels" With Citations And Quotes From The Book

1145 words - 5 pages

The novel, "Fallen Angels", was written by Walter Dean Myers in 1988 in Jersey City, New Jersey. The writing is of a war fiction genre and also a coming-of-age story. The tale is told in a first person point of view through a fairly young African-American soldier fighting in the controversial Vietnam War. The story takes place in 1967 to 1968.The novel begins in 1967 with Richie Perry; a seventeen year old, black, high-school graduate joining the army. He decides to join the army because his mother cannot afford to send him to college, although he is very smart, and he does not want to keep living in Harlem. Richie hurts his knee in a basketball accident while in basic training and is told ...view middle of the document...

The choppers arrive and Richie and Peewee commit a heroic act of opening fire on the enemy to save all of their fellow soldiers. The boys are wounded in their efforts and are sent to a hospital. The boys then return home as changed men. Richie realizes that being thrust back into society is going to be very hard, almost as much as surviving Vietnam, and he is a forever changed man.Richie Perry is the main character in the novel and the story is told through his eyes. Richie had a very tough life in Harlem; his mother is an alcoholic who spends her meager income on booze and his father deserted the family years earlier. Although Richie's chances of succeeding and coming out of Harlem a good person are low, he defies all odds and is a very bright student and does what is best for himself and his family, most particularly his brother Kenny. Richie and Kenny are dependent on each other with Richie acting as a father figure that Kenny never had. Because he cannot afford college, Richie escapes his problems and bad home life by joining the army. He cannot believe the atrociousness of the war and the absurdity of the whole conflict. At the end of the work, Richie is traumatized by the war and realizes that going home is only the beginning of his personal battle.The loss of innocence is one of the predominate themes in the novel. The soldiers arrive in Vietnam as teenagers and have absolutely no clue as to what they're getting themselves into. Peewee show's his innocence by stating his three goals in life are to drink wine from a bottle with a cork in it, to smoke a cigar, and to have sex with a foreign woman ( ). When Jenkins is killed, Richie states that his grandmother is the only person he ever saw dead (15). He doesn't realize that he will be seeing many, many more men die than anyone ever should. The troops have to quickly change from teenage jokesters to men virtually overnight. During combat, Richie asks "Where the hell is the...

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