Fallen Angels: A Coming Of War In The Vietnam War

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Fallen Angels is a coming-of-age novel about a young man who enters the army during the Vietnam War in the 1960’s. The book was banned by certain school districts for its use of profanity, sexual language, racism, and vulgarity, and has been repeatedly challenged by parents and teachers over the past 15 years (Serena, 2010). No punches were pulled in this novel. It successfully paints a picture of war as teens drafted during the Vietnam War era, and tells how they would have experienced and been impacted by those events (Serena, 2010). The Author’s background and life-story and his response to the challenges of his book, and the reasons behind why so many people were prompted to have it banned will be explored in this paper.
Walter Dean Myers
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Richie is the protagonist in the story. “Fallen Angels” follows the experiences of Richie Perry, a seventeen year old from Harlem with a bright future (Sparknotes, 2013). Perry, like many other youngsters, joins the Army in hopes of building a better life for himself and to set an example for his younger brother, Kenny. While in Vietnam, Perry develops friendships with his fellow soldiers in Alpha Company, especially with “Peewee” Gates, a fellow soldier from Chicago (Sparknotes, 2013). Both Perry and Peewee bond during an experience filled with violence, fear, and confusion. As Richie bears witness to the destruction and brutality of war, he begins to question the morality of war. He sees that the line between good and bad is often ambiguous. The selfishness of his commanding officers, particularly the company commander, Captain Stewart, who is more concerned with earning a promotion than he is with the safety of the soldiers under his command takes its’ toll on Richie who then becomes disillusioned. After the death of Lieutenant Carroll during a combat mission, Richie begins to doubt why he is even fighting in Vietnam in the first place. Though his friends and family try to deter him from such thoughts labeling them as futile and dangerous, Richie feels compelled to find meaning within the chaos. By the end of the book and returning home after several months of combat, Richie is no closer to solving the …show more content…
This sentiment is only partially correct, there is a good reason why it is labeled under the young adult genre of children’s’ books. There are some very mature themes touching on serious issues that may be potentially too strong for a young mind to handle appropriately. While no book should be omitted from a library, a certain amount of caution would be a prudent and wise decision. The topics covered in the story are relevant and need to light shed upon them continually, so as not to forget or overlook the advances that society still needs to make. However, some topics are simply to mature for young children. In any case or situation children should be allowed to be children, after all they will have to face the realities of adulthood soon

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