By Katherine Kinney
Thousands of memoirs, novels, performs, and films were dedicated to the yank conflict in Vietnam. even with the good number of media, political views and the levels of seriousness with which the warfare has been handled, Katherine Kinney argues that the majority of those works proportion a unmarried tale: that of american citizens killing americans in Vietnam. pleasant hearth, during this example, refers now not in basic terms to a sad errors of battle, it additionally refers to America's struggle with itself throughout the Vietnam years. ranging from this aspect, this e-book considers the idea that of "friendly hearth" from a number of vantage issues, and portrays the Vietnam age as a crucible the place America's cohesive photo of itself is shattered--pitting infantrymen opposed to superiors, doves opposed to hawks, feminism opposed to patriarchy, racial worry opposed to racial tolerance. by using wide proof from the movie and well known fiction of Vietnam (e.g. Kovic's Born at the Fourth of July, Didion's Democracy, O'Brien's Going After Cacciato, Rabe's Sticks and Bones and Streamers), Kinney attracts a strong photo of a country politically, culturally, and socially divided, and a conflict that has been memorialized as a contested web site of artwork, media, politics, and beliefs.
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Additional resources for Friendly Fire: American Images of the Vietnam War
The recruits who arrive on Parris Island are named by Gerheim "pukes, you are scumbags, you are the lowest form of life on Earth. You are not even human. You people are nothing but a lot of little pieces of amphibian shit" (4). " Gerheim's "comprehensive" imagination, which returns again and again to sexual humiliation, serves the same purpose as the beatings; it ties the recruits to their bodies, a state of debased imminence named female. Masculinity is created, asserted through training. "Sound off like you've got a pair," Gerheim tells the men when they arrive, a direct acknowledgment of manhood's metaphorical and thus mythical nature (5, emphasis added).
The irony here is not simple, however; it embodies rather than displaces John Wayne's persistent presence in the novel. It is the John Wayne joke which names the novel's two main characters and forms the basis for their friendship. The narrator is dubbed "Private Joker" when Sgt. Gerheim hears his act of mimicry, naming irony itself as but another part to play. " John Wayne becomes an unplayable role only when confronted with violence. Hasford/Joker's most direct repudiation of the John Wayne image of Marine Corps concerns the beatings the drill instructors administer during training.
At one point, Kovic is convinced that a teacher made speechless by the idea that there would soon be "one billion Chinese" was a communist. Ironically, it is Kovic's dedication to sports which best defines his ideological orientation. Becoming a Marine is like playing baseball in a world in which global politics is organized as a contest between two sides. There is no room here for the ambiguities of Wayne's Western persona. Only when the rules of the game are broken, when John F. Kennedy is assassinated, do Western images suggest themselves; "It all seemed wild and crazy, like some Texas shoot-out" (72).
Friendly Fire: American Images of the Vietnam War by Katherine Kinney