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Myths and heroes: American soldiers in the Vietnam War

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Par   •  7 Juin 2017  •  Dissertation  •  804 Mots (4 Pages)  •  1 278 Vues

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Myths and heroes

I'm going to talk about the notion of myths and heroes. I would just focus on the notion of « heroes » through the american soldier during the Vietnam War.

Firs of all, I would like to give you a definition of hero.

A hero can be a mythological figure, a person who is admired for his or her achievements.

We can wonder if American soldiers are always depicted as heroes.

In order to illustrate this notion, I have chosen three documents. The first one is a trailer from the movie « We were soldiers », the second is an extract from If I die in combat zone, box me up and ship me home. And the last one is an extract from Black Virgin Mountain : A return to Vietnam.

The first document is a trailer from the film entitled « We were soldiers », released in 2002 and directed by Randall Wallace.

This movie is set during the Vietnam War, as we can see some typical vietnamese houses in the batterfield scenes.

We can guess that family is very important in the film because they support the soldiers.

Their families are sad and scared for them, as in the first scene in the trailer, we can see the officier's daughter asking him about what war is.

In this movie, American Soldiers are represented as honest, dutiful and self-sacrificing. The war is shown as a noble duty.

The director decided to focus his movie on patriocism, but while doing that, he returned his film as a cliche.

And is this trailer, the Vietnameses are not shown because we are expected to focus on the American soldiers' lives and feeling only.

Indeed, the music and the images convey emotions.

The second document I will present to you is an extract from the novel If I die in combat zone, box me and ship me home, written by Tom O'Brien and published in 1973.

This text deals with a private during the Vietnam War. The scene is set in Training Camp, in Washington DC.

The private, who is the narrator, was determined not to go to Vietnam. He had decided to run away. He had prepared his desertion, he intended to take the bus to Seattle and change into civilians clothes at the bus depot.

He expected his family to be embarasses and to feel ashamed because fleeing the war and one's duty is cowardly.

He couldn't bring himself to desert, it was impossible for him to face his family and friend's jugement. He knew he would be regarded as chicken-hearted if he didn't go to war. He could not muster enough courage to achieve his goal. He was ashamed of himself. Paradoxically, he knew he would be considered hismself a coward because he had given up his plan of deserting.

He understood that you needed courage to desert.

Like many people of his generation, the narrator didn't approve of the American commitment in South East Asia. He may have been involved in the anti-war protest. He did not want to defend this cause because he didn't believe in. He might have refused to kill people.

The last document is an extract from Black Virgin Moutain : A return to Vietnam, written by Larry Heinemann, published in 2005.

The narrator is him at his return trip to Vietnam. Several years after the war, he tells us about the actor Mr Morrison know as John Wayne.


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